After a tough stretch to end the regular season, the Lincolnwood High School softball team showed that they are capable of playing with just about anyone in their final game before regionals.
On Tuesday, June 1, the Lady Lancers went toe-to-toe with Tri-City, the MSM Conference champions every year since 2012, and nearly knocked off the Tornadoes in a 1-0 affair in Raymond.
Tri-City’s Kelsy Bruno and Lincolnwood’s Paige Rainwater were locked in a pitcher’s duel, with neither giving an inch until the Tornadoes manufactured a run in the top of the seventh. Rainwater scattered five hits in the first six innings, but no runner would advance past second base.
Bruno was even better, allowing just two hits and striking out 18 in the game. Lincolnwood’s best chance came in the bottom of the third, when they put two on with a walk and a hit batsman, but weren’t able to get the go-ahead run.
When Tri-City finally broke through in the seventh, it was courtesy of the Tornadoes’ small ball prowess. Bruno singled on a hard ground ball to left field, with her courtesy runner, Haley Behnke, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Emmorie Brown.
A passed ball would put the Tornadoes 60-feet away from taking the first lead of the game, with Grace Brenner laying down a bunt that allowed Behnke to score and make it 1-0. Brenner would reach first on the play, but was erased on a double play in the next at-bat to keep it a one-run game.
Rainwater tried to help her own cause in the bottom of the seventh as she doubled with one out, putting the potential winning run at the plate for the Lancers. Unfortunately for the orange and black, Bruno bore down and struck out the next two batters on eight pitches to secure the win.
Tri-City improved to 24-2 on the season with the victory, while Lincolnwood fell to 13-8. The Lancers will have a chance to prove that Tuesday’s game wasn’t a fluke on Thursday, June 3, when they start the postseason against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Brussels and Pleasant Hill. The winner of that game moves on to play either North Greene or Carrollton on Friday, June 4, in the regional championship game. Lincolnwood has six regional titles in the program’s history, with the last championship coming in 2016.
June 1 at Raymond
Tri-City 000 000 1 1 6 0
Lincolnwood 000 000 0 0 2 2
Tri-City IP R ER H K BB
Bruno 7 0 0 2 18 3
*Bruno 1 HBP
Nokomis IP R ER H K BB
Rainwater 7 1 0 6 5 0
*Rainwater 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Tri-City - Jordan Closs 2-2. 2B: Lincolnwood - Paige Rainwater 1.
Record: Tri-City (24-2); Lincolnwood (13-8).