Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Something was wrong.
After Effingham trounced Charleston, 15-0, in the first game of a doubleheader Friday, CHS players held their own meeting in the right field grass to try and rectify issues before the second game of the Apollo Conference doubleheader.
Senior Kailyn Wilson said the team talked about being ‘family,’ something they say after every breakout.
“We say ‘family’ when we do our breakout, and we just weren’t, you know, a family, the first game,” she said. “We were thinking of ourselves individually.”
The CHS came through in the second game.
Knotted at 8, senior Erin Blair knocked in the go-ahead run on a 1-2 count to hand the Trojans (17-3, 6-2 Apollo) a 9-8 victory and a split of the doubleheader against Effingham (13-6, 7-3 Apollo).
“We just have to believe in ourselves,” Wilson said.
That they did. Effingham twice had commanding leads in the second game going ahead 5-1 in the second, then 8-4 in sixth, before a four-run rally.
Karah Moore singled. Wilson walked. Clara Cox doubled in Kailee Gough running for Moore, followed by Wilson scoring. Maci Mayhall reached base on an error. Cox scored on a sacrifice by Blair Ritchey. Addison Shrader singled in Mayhall to tie the score at 8 apiece
“We played Okaw Valley yesterday and did the same thing,” Wilson said. “We didn’t hit the ball until the fifth inning. I think there are times we have a hard time adjusting to the pitcher. A lot of times, it can be in our heads.”
Charleston waited until the end again, but this time it worked out for the best.
Beals reached first on an error and advanced to third base on the same play. That was followed by intentional walks to Wilson and Moore to load the bases with one out. It was Blair’s chance to bring the family together again.
“Avery really got the ball rolling when she hit the line drive up the middle in the seventh,” Blair said.
Blair subsequently delivered her game-winning single that drove in Beals.
She said the bases loaded situation took the pressure off her to make something more happen.
“I was just wanting make contact,” she said. “We needed a run to win the game, I’m glad I could come through for my team. That win was crucial.”
Wilson started the second game and lasted only 1 2/3 innings before giving way to Moore, almost the mirror of the first game. But Moore was back to her stellar self, giving up three runs on five hits on two walks and six strikeouts – giving her team a chance to claw back a win.
“Families will have their rough patches,” Wilson said. “Siblings argue and get into headbutts. We have to remember also that in families, that they have each other’s backs.”