MATTOON — The final score wasn’t indicative of how great of a ball game it was between the Herrin and Rochester softball teams at the Mattoon Class 3A Super-Sectional on Monday.
After Herrin scored in the seventh to send the game to extra innings, Rochester plated six runs in the eighth and defeated the Tigers, 10-4.
Tori Schullian hammered a home run off of Reagan Miles to knot the score at 4-all with two outs in the seventh. It appeared as though Herrin had all the momentum, but the Rockets took it right back.
Ali Bortmess led off the eighth and hit her second homer of the game off of Calli Sutcliffe. The Rockets went on to have a big inning.
“I have seniors who have been at this for four years trying to get to this point, and they just kept battling,” said Rochester coach Lindsay Howard. “(Herrin) has a very good team. They have hitters up and down their lineup, and their pitcher did a great job today. It was just a great game.”
Sutcliffe pitched well through seven innings and allowed just three hits and three runs, two of which were unearned. But Rochester finally got to her in the eighth frame.
“I think she just got a little tired,” Herrin coach Jim Kowzan said of Sutcliffe. “The home run and the double back-to-back were both drop balls that had been her bread and butter today. She left them up in the eighth inning, and it just looked like to me she got tired.”
After the home run from Schullian in the bottom of the seventh, Makayla Smothers smacked a double. It looked the Tigers might pick up a walk-off win, but Miles was able to get out of trouble
“When Smo hit the double, I’m thinking we’re going to do it again,” Kowzan said. “We had our opportunities, and we didn’t take advantage of them and it came back to haunt us.”
Nicole Robinson hit a two-run double, which it made it 10-4 Rochester in the eighth.
Rochester scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning and grabbed a quick 2-0 edge.
The Tigers had a runner in scoring position in the first and second innings, but couldn’t get a key hit. The Rockets held a 3-1 lead in the fourth when Herrin’s Rebecca Moffett hit an RBI triple to get the Tigers on the score board.
Herrin trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning and scored twice to tie the game. Sutcliffe laid down a bunt, which scored Alex Ventura. Raegen Gosha scored on a throwing error on the same play.
“The fight in our girls is just absolutely fantastic,” Kowzan said. “I absolutely love this group of girls.”
The Tigers finished their season with a record of 33-5.