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Softball

Late Raiders rally dooms Timberwolves

SHABBONA – It looked as if the Indian Creek girls softball team would earn a series split with Earlville-Leland on Friday until pitcher Kennedy Meloy’s two-run homer in the top of the seventh propelled the Raiders to a 2-1 victory.

The trouble started for Indian Creek in the top of the seventh when Jadyn Pickert led off with what should have been a can-of-corn pop-up into the howling wind, which turned into a two-base error. After a passed ball, Meloy crushed the 2-2 offering through the wind, well over the 190-foot sign in left field to give the Raiders (6-1 overall, 3-0 Little Ten Conference) the late lead.

“I really didn’t even think about having two strikes,” Meloy said. “I actually thought I was going to hit a home run. ... [T-Wolves pitcher Jesika Lowe] was throwing me inside the whole time, and I was fouling them off. I think she left one a little more outside than inside.”

The Timberwolves (1-6, 1-3 Illinois Little Ten) weren’t able to garner run support for Lowe, who threw a gem of a game but ended up with the tough-luck loss. She tossed a complete game, giving up two runs, one earned, while striking out seven and scattering three hits. Lowe, who had been struggling with a shoulder injury, said that her shoulder was good and it showed. She had good top-end velocity on her fastball all game.

“You just gotta put the bat on the ball,” T-wolves coach Jeremy Lowe said. “We’ve got to increase our fielding percentage. Fielding is what has been hurting us lately. If we get some defense going, the games are going to change for us.”

The lone T-wolves run came in the first inning when Hailey Herrmann doubled to bring home Jade Milostan. From there, the T-wolves had only two more hits the rest of the game. With the way that the T-wolves’ roster is constructed, there is no subbing players in and out, trying to play match-ups or getting a bench player to provide a spark.

“We only have two seniors on the team right now,” Jeremy Lowe said. “We only have nine girls. Everybody gets playing time.

By the numbers: The chilly, windy and rainy ambiance set the stage for a pitcher’s duel. Both pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts while scattering seven hits over 14 innings.

Beyond the stats: Before the seventh, Indian Creek third baseman Mary Todd looked like she had the game-saving play. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Todd snagged a shoe-string liner while ranging to her left, ending the Raiders thread.

They said it: “That ball that [Pickert] hit was going to right field and the girl was camped under it,” Earlville-Leland coach Shannon Cook said. “All of the sudden, a little front came through and blew everything across. It just came right back into the infield. [Pickert] was a smart runner. She realized that everyone was over on the right side and took that base.

Up next: Indian Creek will travel to play Newark at 4:30 p.m. Monday. Earlville-Leland is scheduled to travel to Seneca and play at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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