Illinois Valley Central’s softball team put its best foot forward to start the season with a 5-1 win over El Paso-Gridley March 21 at home.
“I think they have followed the lead of the seniors,” coach Mike Berchtold said. “The sophomores have really chipped in. It’s been someone different making the big plays for us each night.”
Hannah Johnson started the game for the Lady Ghosts and threw 11 strikeouts on her way to the win.
“We played a real good defensive game,” Berchtold said. “Hannah Johnson pitched a great game for us and really helped our defense out.”
Johnson also hit a two-run single in the fourth inning and Delaney Coats smacked a one-run RBI in the same inning.
In the fifth inning, Rachel Grochowsky reached base on a single and scored when
Grace Gould crushed a triple.
Gould rounded home when Jenna Noland hit a single.
The team followed with a 5-0 win Thursday at home over Illini Bluffs.
“We made no errors in that game and Jenna pitched a shutout,” Berchtold said. “The pitching has been great for us so far. We have not been behind in a game yet, but that will change.
“We haven’t had a lot of hits but we’ve been able to string them together when we need them.”
Coats again came up big for the Ghosts with a three-run double in the sixth inning.
In the fourth inning, Jessica Childers made it on base with a single and was followed by a single from Grochowsky.
Gould scored both runners with a clutch triple and scored on a single from Noland.
Noland started the game for IVC and threw four strikeouts as she earned the win.
“We still lack confidence in our bunting and that will need to get better as we go along,” Berchtold said. “We are playing a lot of girls so everyone knows they will probably get a chance to play when they get to the field.”
The team played four innings at home Friday against Eureka and built a 6-0 lead before the game was postponed to a later date.
“It kept lightning and you have to wait 30-minutes between strikes to play,” Berchtold said. “We decided to let the girls go home rather than wait all night.”
The team next plays at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Orion.
The team plays a doubleheader against Dunlap at 11 a.m. Saturday at home.
“This next week is an important week for us,” Berchtold said. “Our pitching has been carrying us and I hope that we continue to see that.
“We need to continue to get good effort from our girls because we have some really good teams coming up.”