Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski
Mattoon sophomore Cam Lee had every reason to walk off the field beaming with the intensity of a thousand suns after the Green Wave’s 6-5 extra inning thriller of a win against Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg on Friday evening.
With two outs, in the bottom of the 10th inning, Lee took a 1-1 pitch and smacked it through the hole into left field, scoring Liz Enlow.
WSS trotted out Karlie Bean from first base after an outfield collision injured two teammates in the second inning. She allowed 10 hits and three earned runs on seven walks and five strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings – the strong winds making it difficult to locate pitches.
“There was a lot of pressure with the bases loaded and two strikes,” Lee said. “I know Karlie – her riseballs, her screwballs, everything. It was the bottom of the tenth inning, I knew I needed to hit the ball. I was so determined and hit it. Once I hit it, I knew.”
The sophomore skipped to the dugout and danced with her teammates after the run scored.
“I think as a team we have all became so close together,” she said. “No matter what, we have each other’s back. Since Game One, it was a little shaky and we didn’t know the freshman as well. Going into this game, I felt like everyone knew each other. We were determined to win this.”
Mattoon took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Sam Hayes walked Lee who advanced to third on a single from Sophie Artis.
Bean came to the mound after Hatchets coach Craig Moffett made a lineup change to replace the two injured outfielders. Hallee Perry subsequently singled to left, scoring Lee and Artis.
The Hatchets got one back in the following inning as Bean singled, scoring Ella Kinkelaar.
The two teams scored two runs each in the fourth leading to the decisive sixth inning where the Hatchets took their second lead of the game as Ellie Wittenberg and Bean drove in a run giving WSS a 5-4 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Cadance McDaniels scored after Hatchet’s third baseman Ava Richards underthrew to first base on a hit by Ivey Edwards at-bat, the ball skipping under the glove Maddy Pfeiffer.
In the top of the seventh, Mattoon third baseman Lexi Murdock charged home plate on a bunt by Wittenberg that popped into the air and right into her glove, and then threw the ball to first, doubling up Kinkelaar.
Green Wave pitcher Liz Enlow bent, but did not break. The hurler surrendered five earned runs on two walks with five strikeouts across 10 innings.
“Her mental toughness was there,” MHS coach Jennifer Saucier said. “She relied on her defense. Her defense came up with some big plays for her, too. I think that gave her confidence to keep pushing through.”
Saucier was impressed by her team’s effort against a quality Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg squad, which entered the tournament 8-1.
“That was quite the game,” she said. “They do not give up. They keep fighting and keep pushing. They showed that today. Even with girls that were struggling in the beginning of the game came and got big hits later in the game so that helped us. That took everybody, for sure.”
Lee said she was nervous for the game remarking to her mom earlier in the day that she felt the Hatchets would beat them as they were undefeated until Teutopolis did, 10-9 Thursday afternoon.
“I was just hoping it got through,” she said of her game-winning it.. “I could tell it was hard a shot. Yes! They didn’t get it and scored a run. I was so proud.”
“As a Mattoon player it feels pretty amazing!”
Notes: Mattoon is now 2-5 after the win and a loss to to St. Joe-Ogden during the modified round-robin tournament Friday night. Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg goes to 8-3 after losing to both Mattoon and, later, to Robinson, 7-5.