Wauconda pitcher Peat hits all the high notes in beating top-ranked Antioch

 
By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/11/2022 9:51 PM

She pitched. She dashed. She sang.

Wauconda senior softball pitcher/school choir member Rachel Peat did all of the above, in that order, Wednesday. Moments after blanking visiting Antioch -- Class 3A's top-ranked team -- Peat split from the diamond to warble indoors at her school.

 

It was, after all, the choir's Senior Night.

Fortunately, others stuck around to sing Peat's praises after the righty's 4-hit, 2-0 victory in muggy-turned-pleasant conditions.

"Grit," Wauconda coach Tim Orisek said after the Northern Lake County Conference game. "Rachel showed that and located her pitches well. I also liked how well she worked with Calli (senior catcher Janik) and how well they set up Antioch's hitters.

"Rachel," he added, "did an outstanding job executing all of her pitches."

Peat (8-3) fanned 3 and walked 1 in 7 brisk innings, as Wauconda improved to 15-7, 5-2 in the NLCC. Her biggest out came in the top of the sixth, with two outs and Sequoits Eden Echevarria (1-for-3) and Gabby Debevec (1-for-3) on second and third.

Peat got out of it by inducing a fly out to right field.

Peat's screwball normally confounds batters, Janik noted afterward.

"Today her riser was her best pitch," the catcher said.

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The other half of the pitchers' duel was Antioch junior Syerra Gilmore, who entered the game with a 12-0 varsity career record. Gilmore yielded only 1 earned run while striking out 5 and walking 1. Her inning-ending strikeout, with two Bulldogs on base in the bottom of the fifth, kept Wauconda's lead at 1-0.

Gilmore (6-1) allowed 8 hits in her complete-game effort.

"Syerra pitched a great game and got out of a lot of jams," Sequoits coach Anthony Rocco said after his team -- which has clinched a share of the NLCC title -- slipped to 19-2, 7-1. "We didn't back her up offensively or defensively."

Bulldogs junior second baseman Lia Taglia (2-for-3, 2B, RBI) broke the 0-0 stalemate in the third inning, poking an opposite-field single between first and second base to score junior third baseman Haley Baldwin (2-for-3, 2B, RBI), who had doubled to open the frame and advanced to third on sophomore Bella Antonucci's sacrifice bunt.

Baldwin's run-scoring single in the sixth scored junior Savannah Powers (1-for-2, walk) to give Peat a 2-0 lead.

The game was the teams' third meeting since late May last spring. Antioch topped host Wauconda 18-11 in a wild Class 3A sectional final (it featured 31 hits) in 2021, and bested the visiting Bulldogs 12-2 earlier this spring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Antioch's only loss before Wednesday was to Class 4A power Marist.

"Great team win," Orisek said. "We got pitching, defense, timely hitting ... everything."

Including an ace in the circle -- and on stage."

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