Morton girls reach 23-8 softball record

Bryan Veginski

Kelsi Dahms helped ensure Canton would not sweep the Morton softball team May 14.

The pitcher did not allow an earned run in a complete game five-hitter in which she walked only one in a 2-1 Potters' Mid-Illini Conference victory.

Morton stranded nine baserunners after generating 11 hits, but it squeaked out a home win that locked up an upper-division league finish.

Bridget Serrurier was an offensive catalyst with three hits and both RBI, including the go-ahead run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth inning.

She doubled in the game's first tally in the second.

Dahms also was 3-for-3, while Chandler Ryan rapped a double for the Potters.

Morton, the No. 9-ranked team in the May 13 Illinois Coaches Association Class 3A softball state poll, avenged a 10-run loss to the Lady Giants April 29 in Canton.

Metamora 4, MHS 2

The Potters again fell behind early against the Redbirds in a May 15 road loss.

Morton trailed 4-0 after two innings before scoring once each in the fifth and seventh to absorb its second 2013 defeat to Metamora.

In the first meeting April 16, the Redbirds were ahead 3-0 after one frame in an eventual 3-1 M-I victory.

Nicole Koch and Dahms had two hits apiece as the Potters led, 7-5, in that category.

Dahms and Casey Brunton drove in runs, while Jessica Siggers launched a triple.

Koch held Metamora scoreless over the last four innings. She fanned four and walked three in a negative decision in the circle.

The Redbirds were 12th in the newest ICA ratings.

East Peoria 3, MHS 2

The Potters lost a heartbreaker trying Thursday to become the first conference team to knock off the Raiders this season.

Under the lights at Mizuno Field, Morton led until the seventh inning against No. 5-ranked East Peoria.

The defeat dropped the Potters into outright fourth place in the league with a final record of 8-6.

East Peoria hurler Sarah Finck struck out 15 and walked two in a two-hitter.

"She just makes the ball move and she works fast," said MHS head coach Stacey Buescher of Finck, who hits the corners well.

Dahms held the Raiders to one run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. She whiffed four and walked three.

East Peoria had a run in and two baserunners in scoring position with one out in the first inning before Dahms shut the door with a pop up and a strikeout.

In the second, Jocelyn Nimmo made a running catch in deep left field for the second out. That play carried added significance when the next two Raiders singled.

Morton tied the game in the top of the third inning when Koch reached on a two-out error, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Nikki Eigsti's RBI single.

The Potters stayed even in the home half of the third when Koch ranged down the right-field line to catch a pop up and fired home ahead of an East Peoria runner who tagged up for a 4-2 double play.

Finck struck out the side in the fourth inning, but not before Morton took the lead when Ryan, standing at third base, baited the Raiders, then scampered in with the visitors' second run.

In the fifth, the Raiders drew two walks and got another player on via an error, but did not score.

On a hit-and-run with no outs, Koch snagged a softly-hit ball from her second-base position and applied the tag on Finck.

"She had two huge double plays tonight," said Buescher of Koch.

East Peoria had the tying and go-ahead runs on in the sixth with two outs when Buescher went to Koch in relief.

Four-year varsity players Taylor Namanny and Eigsti combined for a huge play.

From behind the plate, Namanny whipped a throw down to Eigsti at first base, and the Potters picked off the Raider to end the frame.

After a lead-off hit-by-pitch and one-out single in the seventh, Morton elected to intentionally walk clean-up hitter Nicole Montgomery to load the bases.

A squibber to the right side was mishandled, sending the tying run home. On the play, second baseman Brunton was cleated.

By the time the Potters recovered, the throw was too late to beat a second East Peoria runner at the plate.

The only other Morton hit was a Dahms double in the first inning.

One of the runs charged to Koch was unearned.

MHS 8-12, Bloomington 0-7

The Potters swept the Purple Raiders Saturday to close out the regular season.

Morton (23-8) cracked 10 extra-base hits in the road twin bill, including four home runs.

In the opener, Namanny and Serrurier had two hits apiece and Brunton had three RBI, including a two-run homer in the seventh.

Ryan added a round-tripper earlier in the seventh, while Nimmo and Siggers knocked in runs as well.

Koch whirled a shutout. Going the distance, she struck out five with no walks. Bloomington had only four hits.

The Potters had six doubles in game two and stretched their lead to 12-5 with a five-run sixth inning.

Ryan was 2-for-4 with a double , an RBI and four runs. Koch doubled twice and also drove in a run.

The Nos. 3 through 5 hitters — Dahms, Brunton and Namanny — had seven RBI combined.

Brunton and Namanny had two-run homers in the third and sixth innings, respectively, and Dahms notched a two-base hit.

Peyton Silverthorn doubled and knocked in a run. Additionally, Serrurier had an RBI for Morton and Amanda Sigulas a double.

In a complete game, Dahms navigated around five walks and eight hits for the victory. Two of the runs she gave up were unearned. Dahms had four Ks.

Season stats: Morton is hitting .300 with a 2.87 ERA as a team through Tuesday.

Dahms continues to lead the Potters with a .432 batting average. She has 28 RBI.

Brunton tops Morton with five home runs and 31 RBI.

Eigsti (.355), Ryan (.354) and Koch (.347) all are at .300 or better. Ryan has 16 extra-base hits, Eigsti 14 and Namanny 12.

Namanny (30) and Ryan (23) both have more than 20 RBI as well.

Koch is 14-7 with a 2.34 ERA in 122 2/3 innings pitched. She has 96 strikeouts with only 10 walks.

Dahms has won 9-of-10 decisions working 79 2/3 innings.

Postseason: The rubber game between Morton and Canton will occur at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals of the Potters' 3A regional.

The winner moves on to the title game at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The Morton Regional champion will face the Chillicothe Regional winner at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Limestone Sectional semifinals.