BLOOMINGTON — In a softball game arguably among the rainiest six-inning outings in state history, Pontiac High School and flame-throwing pitcher Regan Krause sank Central Catholic, 4-0, at McGraw Park on Thursday.
Krause (2-0), a junior who has committed to the University of Illinois, ignored a steady drizzle that dreamed of becoming a downpour to strike out 15, walk three and allow one hit as her team improved to 7-0 overall and 1-0 in the Illini Prairie Conference.
Umpires called the contest after the sixth inning due to worsening field conditions.
In 19 innings this season, Krause has allowed two hits, fanned 46 and walked four while helping the Indians outscore the opposition a combined 55-0. She was determined not to let Thursday's game slip away.
"I was just trying to grab the seams and focus on Addison's glove," said Krause, referring to the mitt of catcher Addison Masching, a sophomore who has committed to Illinois State.
In the third inning, Pontiac got all the scoring it needed when Krause drew a based-loaded walk.
"We've been doing a great job this year of scoring a lot of runs and swinging at good pitches," she said. "Our pitch selection has gotten a lot better from last year. We're a year-smarter hitters."
Pontiac senior Amanda Fox, another ISU recruit, hit the ball smartly, notching two hits against Millikin-bound Bailey Coffman (4-5), who allowed five hits, fanned six and walked four. Fox doubled in the fifth inning to drive in Masching, who'd tripled.
"It's all mental, staying focused and making plays if the ball was in play," said Pontiac coach Nicole Hayner, who applauded her bench for supporting the starters.
"That's one thing we've been working on, the team aspect. It's not the nine on the field. It's all 17 that it takes to get a win."
It took a sacrifice fly to left field by Alyssa Fox to drive home Sydney Barnett from third in the fifth inning. The scoring ended in the sixth when Maddi Stark doubled before scoring on Masching's second hit, a single up the middle.
"That's one thing we've been working on, getting more runs to secure the win," Hayner said. "They are really playing for each other."
Coffman had Central's lone hit, a single to right in the fourth inning following a walk by Kayla Stenger. Krause fanned the next batter and then saw Maschin throw out Stenger attempting to steal third to end the inning.
Saint coach Jeff Schade, who has known Pontiac's players since they were five years old, is among their fans.
"They play hard," he said. "When you've got pitching like that ... honestly, it's fun to watch."
Schade expects his Class 2A Saints (8-7, 0-1) to grow from facing the 3A Indians and Krause.
"I told the girls, 'there is a reason she is going Division I,'" Schade said. "'She throws the ball really well. Go up there and swing and be aggressive,' and we were. There were times we were over-matched, but we didn't act over-matched. We competed hard."
Hayner couldn't remember playing in worse weather, which included 50-degree chill.
"We've played in cold. We've played in rain on and off, but nothing comparable to this," she said. "(The umpires) said it was playable (to start). They said if the bases got too wet or the field conditions got (unplayable), they would let us know and we'd have a discussion. The batters' boxes were starting to puddle."