A two-out rally in the seventh inning by Mattoon Middle was not enough in the Wildcats’ IESA Regional softball semifinal Thursday evening.
After Mattoon scored four runs in top of the seventh inning, top-seeded Newton scraped across the decisive run with two outs in the bottom of the inning to post a 5-4 victory and advance to play host to Effingham in the final.
Effingham rallied to defeat Charleston Middle, 6-5, in the other semifinal.
With two outs and nobody on base, Mattoon’s Bella Masse was hit by a pitch and then scored on a double by Kameron Lathrop. Singles by Aylexis Otto and Blain Powers made it 4-2.
Hanna Griffin then ripped a triple to right that tied the score at 4.
Bailee Frichtl was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored with two outs on a single to give Newton the victory.
Lathrop ripped three total hits while Griffin had two hits and allowed three earned runs across 6 2/3 innings for the loss.
Masse had driven in six runs on four hits to lead Mattoon Middle to a 12-1 victory over Vandalia earlier this week to reach Thursday’s semifinal game. Mattoon had exploded for eight second-inning runs and were never threatened in the play-in game.
Griffin and McKinnley Cowger rapped two hits each while Powers drove in two runs.