EUREKA – The kind of day it was for the Eureka softball team could be summed up in one play on Tuesday afternoon. A rocket off the bat of Hannah Martin appeared ticketed for right center field, but somehow Deer Creek-Mackinaw second sacker Riley Jeckel got a glove on it and threw to first base for the out.
The Heart of Illinois Conference guest Chiefs blanked the Hornets 10-0 at the middle school. The game was shifted back 24 hours due to poor field conditions that stemmed from a storm that dropped both rain and snow to the area.
In the top of the second inning, Eureka starter Delaney Phillips (4-5) had a no-ball, two-strike count on DCM’s Kyla Simmons with two runners on and one out. Phillips threw four straight out of the zone for a walk and load the bases.
“That’s a situation that should not happen. You cannot walk the number nine hitter,” stated Hornets’ coach John Stromberger. “You cannot walk the number nine hitter with that girl on deck.”
That girl was leadoff batter Joanna Henderson, who connected on a two-run double to left center to extend the DCM (8-12, 3-5) lead to 4-0. Henderson finished with three hits on the day and added a run-scoring double in the seventh.
Had Simmons been retired, the hosts could have minimized the damage.
Henderson’s first two-bagger was one of four the guests had with two strikes, which produced four runs.
“You’re a strike away,” Stromberger commented. “You’re optimistic you can put them away. There’s a lot of places where they can hit it to one of our fielders. They were fortunate to find some open spots and a hit a few off our gloves.”
DCM outhit Eureka 11 to four. The hosts got singles from Morgan Greene, Jayci Swords, Marah Miller and Savannah Hack. They managed on just two occasions to put a runner on second.
Entering the game, DCM’s Tyah Seling had an earned run average (ERA) of 14.23 in three prior appearances against the Hornets. She was highly economical the circle, as she only threw 61 pitches. Seling walked two and did not strike out anyone.
Of the 21 outs Eureka (8-9, 2-5) made, eight were of the pop up or fly ball variety.
“It’s lunging forward because their pitcher is not throwing as hard as we’re used to seeing,” explained Stromberger. “We were not able to adjust. We were not trying to hit fly balls on purpose. We were just out on our front foot.”
He dismissed the notion the game being moved back had any ill effects.
“We were ready to play,” he said. “We had a good warmup. Today (Tuesday) was just like yesterday (April 15). It did not matter. Dee Mack played really well and we did not play well.”
Prior to Tuesday, Eureka had outscored DCM 38 to five over the last three meetings, all of which were shortened by the 10-run rule.