Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Charleston’s Addison Shrader practically did it all Wednesday afternoon.
She hit well, pitched well, stole two base, broke a record – and even took one for the team – in the Trojans’ 9-1 victory over Richland County.
Charleston, which finishes the regular season 23-5, will next play in the IHSA regional semifinal game Tuesday against the winner between Richland County and Centralia.
Shrader pitched a complete game after allowing just one run on four hits, issuing two walks and striking out eight. She was also hit in the kneecap by a pitch.
“My adrenaline was really going so I didn’t really feel anything,” Shrader said. “Going into the six and seventh innings, I started to feel it a little more. Definitely going to have to ice it tonight, but, honestly, I just want to do it for my team. There’s nothing that’s going to stop me from throwing for the girls behind me.”
Shrader found her groove starting at the plate by getting on base with a single and scoring in the first inning. The junior went 3-for-4, scored three runs, drove in another and set the school’s record for triples.
Shrader then struck out the side in the top of the second.
“I felt very good,” she said. “My pitches were working and that was really effective against a team that last year could hit the ball. I had a great defense behind me and I felt I could just let loose a little bit. It worked out.”
Shrader said the team has felt out of sync.
“We definitely needed this game,” she said. “It was a must as we have been on a low (point) in the season. Going into regionals, this was a statement game. They showed us up last year. It was not good. So coming into that pitcher that we couldn’t hit off of last year, and being able to string together a couple hits together at the end: It’s good. We’ll probably see them in the postseason.”
The junior had been tied for the career school record in triples with 20 for almost a month until she belted a shot to centerfield in the bottom of the sixth as part of a five-run sixth inning for the Trojans.
Shrader, while gripping the record ball tightly, admitted she was struggling to get the 21st triple.
“It’s been a few games since having 20,” she said. “I was on the ‘struggle bus’ a few games. Knowing that, Blain (Coach Mayhall) had confidence in me when I went. It was awesome. Seeing my parents in the outfield dancing – they’re so proud of me. I felt so much love coming into the dugout. That’s just awesome.”
Shrader said the team’s mindset moving to the postseason is that they have nothing to lose.
“We’re 0-0 right now,” she said. “We don’t have anything to lose. Our record is no wins and no losses. For our seniors, this is a big year. I’ve been playing with these girls since I was little. This is huge. With how much love we have for each other, and the ending of last season (a 3-2 nine inning home loss to Mt. Vernon). I have full confidence that we’ll go far.”