EUREKA – The Eureka softball team held on for a 3-2 win in extra innings at Webster Wednesday evening, sealing a hard-earned road split with the Gorloks.
The Red Devils came away with the nightcap victory after an eventful final inning.
Tied at 1-1 with two outs in the eighth, Jordan Heinz (Washington, Ill./Washington) singled up the middle to score Abby Newmister (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington Central Catholic) and give EC a 2-1 lead.Then, in the next at-bat, Morgan Ledbetter (Hanna City, Ill./Elmwood) doubled to give Eureka a two-run advantage.
The Red Devils ended up needing it. In the bottom half of the inning, Webster's Paige Thomas singled up the middle to score the runner who started on second and advanced to third on a SAC bunt.
With the winning run at the plate, Eureka senior pitcher Torre Koontz (Lakewood, Ill./Shelbyville) got back-to-back groundouts to clinch the win. Shortstop Raelyn Payne (Lexington, Ill./Lexington) made the last out of the game with a smooth scoop and throw to first after a blooper dropped just past the circle.
Koontz recorded the win after pitching all eight innings and limiting the Gorloks to two runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out three. The Red Devils defense only made one error in the win.
After five scoreless innings, Eureka got on the board in the sixth after an RBI single by Ledbetter scored Payne, who led the inning off with a single.
Eureka notched seven hits in the win. Ledbetter went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to lead the visitors at the plate. Payne went 2-for-4 with a double and Heinz had the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth.
The win was the Red Devils' first in extra innings since April 6, 2019, when EC mashed their way to a 8-7 comeback win over Greenville. It moved the team to 3-4 in SLIAC play and 4-9 on the season.
Game 1: Webster 6, Eureka 4
Eureka came up short in Game 1 after getting on the board first with a leadoff home run by Payne. Her second dinger of the season briefly gave EC a 1-0 lead, but the Gorloks came back with a six-run rally off five hits and a pair of EC errors to take a five-run lead.
The Red Devils trimmed it to two after Allison Cagley's (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) first bomb of the season – a three-run blast to left in the third inning – but nothing came to fruition after that.
Payne finished 3-for-4 on the game with the homer, an RBI and two runs scored, while Cagley went 2-for-4 with her homer, three RBIs and a run scored. Heinz had a double and a Kennedy Savage (Bloomington, Ill./Normal) had a hit as well.
Eureka will face Webster again in a home doubleheader at Sweitzer Field on Sunday at 12 p.m. The Red Devils will be celebrating senior day.