Lisle loses its edge, doubleheader
Summer Stitt stood a strike away from working out of a near impossible jam.
With one swing Makenna Emerson wrecked that idea.
Emerson's two-out, two-strike, two-run double just over the third-base bag broke up a 3-3 tie, and Coal City poured it on in an 8-run eighth inning to beat Lisle 11-4 in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Community Park.
Coal City swept, scoring an unearned run in the fourth inning to take the opener 3-2 in five innings. The teams' Monday game was rained out, and they rescheduled with a pair of five-inning contests that went extras in the nightcaps.
Emerson was ready to send her teammates home happy on a frigid evening.
"We'd been battling all game," Emerson said. "I got two quick strikes on me and figured I'd better make something happen."
Coal City (9-1, 4-0 Interstate Eight Conference) loaded the bases in the eighth off Stitt with a single, error and walk, but Stitt came back to strike out leadoff hitter Madison Giordano and coax a pop-up to the catcher.
But seven straight Coalers reached base, starting with Emerson's big hit. Lisle coach Jen Pomatto sensed her young team deflate.
"We had that nervous energy, we wanted to get those two outs, and then I feel like we kind of let up a little bit," Pomatto said. "We have to keep that edge out there. Give credit to their hitter for keeping that ball fair down the line. Softball, it's a game of inches."
Lisle (5-3, 3-3) had ample opportunity to take both games, but never could muster the one big hit.
In the second game scheduled to go five innings, the Lions loaded the bases with one out with a Isabella Daly single, Melissa Ericson hit by pitch and Kristina Fernette walk. They couldn't push a run across then, then wasted a Kelly Urban leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth.
All told, the Lions stranded 22 runners in 13 innings over the two games.
"We had every opportunity," Pomatto said. "We got the hitters on. We just couldn't score."
Coal City, on the other hand, scored 12 of its 13 runs on the day with two outs. Working overtime is nothing new for the Coalers; they beat Streator in 11 innings on Saturday.
"We just have the drive that most teams don't," Emerson said. "Those big hits, we've been getting them all year."
Lisle further hurt its cause with 9 errors over the two games, 2 errors in the fourth inning of Game 1 allowing Coal City to score the go-ahead run. Pomatto recognizes she's breaking in a green group, after graduating seven seniors.
"I feel like we're still in a good spot," Pomatto said. "I'm very pleased with how we started the season. Even dropping these two today, we were right there."
Urban was 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and reached base 4 times and Daly also was 3-for-4 and reached base 4 times for Lisle in the second game, and Kristen Holub 3-for-5 with 3 runs batted in. Erin Johnson had 2 singles and an RBI in Game 1.
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