STREATOR — The high-caliber Illini Prairie Conference pitching the Streator softball squad has seen early this week should do nothing but help the Lady Bulldogs next week when large-school regional play begins.
It's not doing a lot for Streator's batting averages in the here and now, though.
Twenty-four hours after being no-hit by the Pontiac duo of Regan Krause and Amanda Fox, the Lady Bulldogs stepped in against newly-crowned Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central single-season strikeout leader Hanna Evans. On senior day, Streator 12th-grader Megan Gubbels broke up Evans' perfect-game bid in the bottom of the sixth inning, but SHS wasn't able to get much else going here in a 4-0 loss to the Grey Ghosts.
"She was another really good pitcher," said SHS coach Dawn Williams. "So that was tough. Defensively I think we're doing a much better job, and now offensively we've just got to start chipping away and scoring runners when we get them on."
Both Evans (7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 13 K) and Streator southpaw starter Aubrey Durdan (7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K) were cruising early, with 1-2-3s recorded in the tops and bottoms of the opening two innings. IVC (16-12) used a third-inning error as a spark to get onto the scoreboard, however, as Josie Birch reached on a dropped flyball, No. 9 hitter Peyton Clevenger followed with an RBI double, and Evans helped her own cause with a two-run homer to left-center to give the Ghosts a 3-0 lead.
IVC added another unearned run against Durdan in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom halves of frames, though, the Lady Bulldogs (8-20) had a tough time getting anything at all going against the hard-throwing Evans, putting only five balls in play — all outs, all on the infield — through five turns at bat until Gubbels led off the home half of the sixth by beating out a bunt single. She took second on a wild pitch and third thanks to a Kathleen Davis sacrifice bunt, not did not score due to back-to-back Evans strikeouts.
Ellie Magana — who for the second day in a row had a fantastic day flashing the leather at shortstop — beat out an infield hit of her own to lead off the seventh for Streator's only other hit. Durdan later reached on an error to become Streator's third and final baserunner of the contest.
"We've won three in a row again. We've been a team of streaks," said Grey Ghosts coach Mike Berchtold. "We're young, but when our pitcher gets rest we're pretty good. (Evans) is right up there with Pontiac's two pitchers. When she gets three days' rest, she's pretty good and we're pretty solid."
Before the game, Streator seniors Alivia Adkins, Mallory Aukland, Durdan and Gubbels were honored.
"I'm going to miss all of them," Williams said. "Megan has done a good job in the outfield for us; Aubrey has done a great job in the circle and in the outfield and stepping up as our No. 4 hitter since we've had to re-arrange our lineup (due to injuries); Alivia, I thought, played a great second base tonight, knocking down everything; and Mallory has stepped in at third base and done a great job ever since.
"They've been a good group."
At SHS Athletic Fields, Streator
Illinois Valley Central 4, Streator 0
IVC (4) — Evans p 2-1-1-2, Wilmington ss 2-0-0-0, Kirman c 3-0-1-0, Gelling dp 2-0-0-0, Wolf 3b 3-0-1-0, Chvich 2b 3-0-0-0, Swanson lf 2-1-0-0, Birch 1b 3-1-0-0, Clevenger cf 2-1-1-2, Fergeson rf/cf 1-0-0-0, Carpenter lf 1-0-0-0, Moore rf 1-0-0-0. Totals 25-4-4-4.
STREATOR (0) — Yanek cf 3-0-0-0, Magana ss 3-0-1-0, Barichello c 3-0-0-0, Durdan p 3-0-0-0, Adkins 2b 3-0-0-0, Aukland 3b 3-0-0-0, Gubbels lf 2-0-1-0, Davis rf 1-0-0-0, Grace 1b 2-0-0-0. Totals 23-0-2-0.
IVC (16-12) 003 010 0 — 4 4 1
Streator (8-20) 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
GIDP - Chvich. LOB - IVC 3; Streator 3. 2B - Clevenger. HR - Evans. SAC - Davis. HBP - Wilmington (by Durdan).
Illinois Valley Central ip r er h bb k
Evans (W) 7.0 0 0 2 0 13
Durdan (L) 7.0 4 2 4 1 4