GOREVILLE — Give Herrin pitcher Tori Johnson the win and a save in the Lady Tigers’ 3-2 nonconference win over Goreville on Wednesday.
Johnson went the distance, allowing just four hits, but also made a game-saving play in the sixth inning.
With McKenzi Schaede, the tying run on third, and Sydnee Rushing, the lead run on second, Johnson reached high over her shoulder to spear a smash off the bat of Tiffani Shadowens. Schaede would have walked home on the play, and there was a good chance the ball would have skipped to the fence.
“She’s a shortstop pitching, so she can catch,” said Herrin coach Jennifer Cobin matter-of-factly.
“I didn’t see it, it was hit so hard,” said Goreville coach Shanna Massey. “Anything can happen any day. It just wasn’t our day to win.”
The Blackcats stranded both runners in the sixth and 12 in the game.
“That was a big part of it,” Massey said. “We get on a lot and strand a lot of runners. More often than not we can get a hit or two to score and it just didn’t happen for us today.”
In the meantime, getting in and out of trouble also fits Herrin’s M.O.
“We’re used to it,” Cobin said. “All season long it seems like we’re playing in trouble, playing from behind. When it’s time to do it, it just always feels like we can be the best team at the end.”
Johnson’s stellar play came just moments after she was injured in a scrambling play at first base.
Schaede walked to open the inning and went to third on Rushing’s bunt attempt. Johnson covered third on the play and received a couple cuts to the palm of her hand when she and Schaede fell in a heap. Johnson’s palm was bleeding and had to be taped up before she could resume pitching.
“It was two cleat marks ripped open and bleeding,” Cobin said. “We’ll probably have to tape her up for a couple of days. She’s a bulldog. She wanted to pitch. I wasn’t going to take the ball out of her hand at that point.”
In the meantime, Goreville manufactured a pair of runs in the first. Brittney Pitchett’s bases-loaded single drove in Shelbey Miller and Ashlee Webb’s bases-loaded walk forced Taylor Odom home.
Herrin tied the game in the second.
Taylor Winn started the inning with a drive over the right field fence. The tying run scored on a bizarre play. Katie Russell singled and moved to second on a ground ball. Russell moved to second when Jessica Loyd struck out on a wild pitch and scored when Ashlee Webb’s throw to first was off target.
Johnson scored the winning run in the fifth, reaching on a two-out double before Whitney Woodis reached on an error.
The miscue made a loser of Rushing, who allowed just four hits and fanned 11 Herrin batters.
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