Two-out, two-run hit gives Morton walk-off victory

Bryan Veginski
Morton sophomore Jacey Wharram connects with a pitch from a Galesburg hurler March 31 during a non-conference softball game at Birchwood Park. The Silver Streaks achieved a rare victory over the Potters, holding on for a 12-8 win. The contest featured four home runs, with two hit by Chandler Ryan of Morton. The Potters were scheduled to begin Mid-Illini Conference play Tuesday against Metamora.

Williamsville broke open a close softball game at Morton with back-to-back three-run innings on March 30.

The Bullets, a new addition to the Potters’ non-conference schedule, won 8-1 after being engaged in a one-run contest through the five innings.

Zoe Mooney was 2 for 4 for Morton and provided the lone run with a RBI triple in the third inning.

Alexis Opel was charged with all eight runs in a complete-game effort in the circle. She was hindered by 12 Williamsville hits and five walks.

The non-conference game was played at Morton Junior High School.

Galesburg 12, MHS 8

The Silver Streaks used eight unearned runs in the third inning to top the Potters on March 31.

Up 4-3, 12 Galesburg batters came to the plate in the third and two homered, including a grand slam by Brooke Van Hootegem.

“It seems like we’ve had a breakdown inning the last two games,” MHS head coach Justine Szetela said. “If we could cancel that out, we’d be fine.”

Morton charged right back in the game at Birchwood Park with five runs in the home half of the fifth.

Jocelyn Nimmo and Jadison Wharram provided back-to-back singles with one out.

Opel, who was 2 for 4, helped the Potters draw closer with a clutch two-out RBI base hit.

Ryan then hammered her second homer of the game to center field, this one a three-run shot, to close the gap to 12-7.

The shortstop was 3 for 4 with three runs and four RBIs from the leadoff slot.

“She’s very patient at the plate,” said Szetela of Ryan. “She’s a smart player all the way around.”

Mooney then singled and scored when Bridget Serrurier knocked her in by pulling a single to left.

Morton clung to hope of an improbable rally in the seventh when Opel and Mooney singled.

But with two outs, the Galesburg right fielder made a diving, game-ending catch of a liner off the bat of Serrurier that prevented two runs from crossing the plate.

Mooney and Serrurier had two hits apiece. The latter knocked in three runs.

After playing primarily the outfield and second base as a junior, Serrurier has found a home at third. She transfers the ball quickly and fires it across the diamond with speed.

“I said, ‘With her arm, she’d be a good third baseman.’ She’s doing a good job for us,” said Szetela.

Ryan’s round-tripper to start the bottom of the first brought the Potters within 3-1.

Four consecutive singles with two outs in the second inning, with the last by Serrurier producing two runs, trimmed the Morton deficit to 4-3.

To her credit, Opel shook off the rough start to put up four straight zeroes and finish the game. She walked five, fanned four and allowed 11 hits.

“She came back the last four innings and didn’t let anybody score,” Szetela said.

MHS 4, Notre Dame 3

The Potters won in walk-off fashion on April 2.

Morton prevailed when Amanda Sigulas singled with two outs to drive in Opel and Maddie Gass, who started the seventh inning by inducing walks.

The base hit made a winner of Opel, who gave up six hits and two earned runs going the distance. She walked two and registered one strikeout.

Ryan was 2 for 4 and Serrurier accounted for a RBI against the team that won 29 games in 2014.

Illini Bluffs 5, MHS 3

The Tigers used a three-run third inning to forge a lasting lead on Saturday.

Sigulas briefly gave Morton (2-3) a 2-1 lead in the top of the third at Glasford with a two-run homer.

Serrurier and Opel both had two hits for the Potters, one of which was a double.

Jessica Case also supplied a RBI in the fifth that got the visitors within 4-3.

Opel walked only one IB batter and struck out five. She gave up 10 hits and four earned runs against the No. 19-ranked team in the March 30 Illinois Coaches Association Class 1A state poll.