EUREKA – After a nearly two-year wait, the Eureka softball team returned to Sweitzer Field and slugged their way to an 8-6 victory over Iowa Wesleyan.
The Red Devils' heart of the lineup – Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central), Morgan Ledbetter (Hanna City, Ill./Elmwood) and Remi Ferguson (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) – combined for five hits, three home runs, a double and eight RBIs.
Iowa Wesleyan also knocked three over the fence, but junior pitcher Sidney Wightman (Waterloo, Ill./Gibault Catholic) kept the Tigers off the board in the last two innings to notch her first save of the season.
Bailey Tibbetts (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) picked up the win, limiting Iowa Wesleyan to five earned runs on six hits and three balls in five innings. She also had five strikeouts.
Iowa Wesleyan struck first on Saturday with a three-run homer by Alex Eyman in the first inning. Eureka's Ferguson answered with a three-run blast of her own in the bottom half to tie the game.
Two innings later, Ledbetter and Ferguson delivered back-to-back jacks. Ledbetter's shot scored Cagley, who singled to right in the previous at-bat. Ferguson's dinger to center followed to make it 6-3.
Iowa Wesleyan's Ashley Pfadenhauer went yard with a solo home run in the fourth, and an RBI double by Cagley made it 8-4 in the bottom half. Raelyn Payne (Lexington, Ill./Lexington) and Jordan Heinz (Washington, Ill./Washington) both singled to set her up.
In the fifth, Eyman homered to left-center to make it a two-run game, which prompted a pitching change in the sixth. Wightman sat the Tigers down in order in the sixth.
Then, in the seventh, the Tigers put runners on the corners by way of an EC fielding error and a single before Wightman got a groundout to end the inning.
Game 2 of the doubleheader was cancelled in the third inning due to inclement weather.
With the win, Eureka improved to 2-1 in SLIAC play and 3-4 on the season. The Red Devils will turn around on Sunday and face Rockford on the road in a 12 p.m. doubleheader.