The Geneseo varsity softball team’s run ended in the Elite 8 this past week as the girls knocked off Metamora and Limestone for the sectional title, but fell a game short to New Lenox Providence.
Geneseo vs. New Lenox Providence
An eighth-inning rally fell short for the Lady Leafs as they were sent home a game short of a state final appearance. New Lenox Providence edged Geneseo 4-3 in the Seneca Super Sectional June 4.
“It was one of those contest where we were facing someone similar to us, and both teams were just fighting and scratching to compete, but we came up 60 feet short with the tying run on third,” said head coach Bob Pettit. “I couldn’t be more proud of how the girls competed from the first pitch to the last this entire postseason. They have hearts as big as gold and they fought and battled as hard as they could.”
The Lady Leafs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and knocked in another run in the bottom of the third to go up 2-0.
New Lenox Providence surged a comeback in the sixth inning and pushed two runs across the plate to tie the game, 2-2.
A scoreless seventh inning forced extra innings where New Lenox Providence plated two runs to go ahead 4-2 in the top of the eighth.
The Lady Leafs managed to cut the lead to one with one run in the bottom of the eighth, but were unable to score the tying or winning runs stranding runners on the base path.
“We got a couple of runners on then had a grounder by Jena Reddig to get a run in, but with runners on first and third with two outs we just couldn’t put the ball in play,” said Pettit. “It wasn’t for a lack of trying, sometimes the ball falls in between someone and sometimes it is just right at people.”
Jena Reddig recorded the loss as she allowed six hits, three runs and struck out two in five innings, while Emily?Zaderaka pitched two innings and allowed one hit and one run.
At the plate, Jessica Murray, Taylor Wise (1 RBI), Zaderaka (1 RBI) and Darian?Gillette led the team with two hits with a double from Wise.
Olivia Goethals belted out a triple for her lone hit of the game, while Haley Cathcart and Reddig finished the game with one hit apiece.
Geneseo vs. Metamora
The come back kids did it again. The Lady Leafs put together another come-from-behind victory to win the UT Sectional?Championship, 5-4 over Metamora June 2.
“We battled the entire game and everyone was concentrating on every pitch,” said Pettit. “They were just competing and battling for their lives. They played their very best they could when the chips were down and their backs were against the wall.”
Page 2 of 3 - Metamora struck first with one run in the top of the first, which was followed by two runs in the top of the third to take the 3-0 lead.
Geneseo drove in three runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 3-3, but Metamora quickly regained control of the game with one run in the top of the fifth, 4-3.
After a scoreless sixth, the game remained 4-3 in favor of Metamora.
In their final trip to the plate, the Lady Leafs had Wise knock out a two-strike single, followed by Zaderaka hitting a double down the left-field line to score Wise to tie the game, 4-4.
With one out, Kassi Anderson belted out a double to score the game winner and send Geneseo to the Elite 8.
Zaderaka earned the win for Geneseo in relief as she pitched two innings and allowed one hit and struck out one. Reddig started the game for the Lady Leafs and pitched five innings and gave up four hits, four runs and struck out four.
Gillette led the team at the plate with three hits, followed by Wise, Zaderaka (1 RBI), Anderson (1 RBI), Reddig (2 RBIs) and Karissa Herrman who added one hit apiece with doubles from Zaderaka and Anderson.
“That Metamora pitcher had the girls tied up with the change up, and we were really struggling with it even in those final at bats,”?said Pettit. “But again, the girls weren’t going to go down and I am really proud of them for that.”
Geneseo vs. Limestone
A four-run fifth inning by the Lady Leafs took the wind out of Limestone’s sails June 1 in the UT Sectional Semifinal where Geneseo defeated Limestone 5-1 to advance to the sectional championship.
“We had a couple things to remember from four years ago when we beat Limestone in the Super Duals, but they came up to beat us in the sectional final,” said Pettit. “We felt we were the better team, but also had the real recent memory of last year’s loss to Sycamore, so we knew not to take anything for granted.”
After four scoreless innings, Limestone plated the first run of the game in the top of the fifth, but the Lady Leafs responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame to take the 4-1 advantage.
The Lady Leafs tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and managed to hold off Limestone for the win.
“We again had to come from behind and I felt we battled hard and if we put the ball in play eventually it would go through,” said Pettit. “When you get down the tournament trail all these teams didn’t get there by accident so once you get to that point you play teams that really battle and you just keep fighting.”
Page 3 of 3 - Reddig pitched a complete game for Geneseo to earn the win as she allowed four hits, one run and struck out four.
“Jena was pitching extremely well at the end of the season and we happened to be playing in sectionals teams that had proficient short games so we really wanted Emily Zaderaka at third because she has really quick hands,” said Pettit. “We decided to give Jena a chance and it worked out really well.”
Leading the offensive effort for Geneseo were Murray, Wise and Herrman (1 RBI) with two hits apiece, while Zaderaka and Gillette (2 RBIs) chipped in one hit each.
The Lady Leafs end the season at 28-11 overall and 7-3 in the NIB 12.
“There were some ups and downs this year and there were nine games where we lost six out of those nine games,” said Pettit. “Individuals and teams go through slumps and the girls were to a point where they were questioning themselves. We had to either let that get worse or put a stop to that and to the girls’ credit they dispelled those doubts and had a great end to the season. They showed more character and really rallied.”