While covering games is definitely the most fun part of my job, the duties of typing up box scores for our roundup section can be a bit predictable.
Looking through them, I can generally guess some key points that are going to happen. Teutopolis’ Bobby Wenthe will have a good game and has a good chance hit a home run, Brownstown/St. Elmo’s Jake Behrends will strike out a ton of batters against Patoka.
Then, last night happened and ruined that train of thought.
The most unpredictable box score I’ve ever received in my career rolled into my inbox, reading St. Anthony 32, Flora 28.
I sat at my screen, just mining through the box score, finding new details to obsess over and eventually start laughing at. Not in a mocking way, since it’s clear both teams played a whale of a game. But just in a “I can’t believe what I’m reading” way.
St. Anthony coach Crystal Tipton said it was a pretty regular reaction even at the game.
“As the innings switched, the (Flora) coaches and I were just laughing at each other,” she said Wednesday. “Who could actually get the outs to finish the game?”
While it wasn’t the most defensively sound game with 12 total errors, that might have just been a product of how nearly every ball was put in to play. Tipton struggled to find a reason for the offensive explosion.
“It wasn’t like the wind was crazy or anything, the weather was cold, which usually means lower scores,” she said. “The only thing I can sum it up to was that the pitchers couldn’t get a good grip on the ball, and they were throwing it into there like a home run derby.”
Let’s just quickly go through some numbers, assembled by Tipton after last night’s marathon that required the use of lights.
•7: Amount of hits by St. Anthony’s Paige Koester, second most in a single game in Illinois history.
•6: Runs by Koester, 13th most in Illinois history.
•10: RBIs by Makayla Walsh, 11th most in Illinois history.
•3: Doubles by Walsh, seventh most in state history
•6: Combined home runs by both teams, eighth in state history.
•30: Hits by St. Anthony, seventh in state history
•31: RBIs by St. Anthony, seventh in state history
•60: Runs by both teams combined, fourth in state history.
Pretty ridiculous. For the majority of the game, St. Anthony actually trailed, falling behind 13-4 after two innings, and not taking the lead until a 10-run outburst in the seventh inning to go up 32-24. Naturally, they gave up four more runs before closing the deal. Walsh played a direct part in 28 of the runs scored, knocking in 10, scoring three and allowing 15 on the mound. Don’t worry, she still picked up the win.
Koester said the confidence grew for the team and for her, as she racked up hit after hit and run after run.
“It was really easy for all of us to hit off her,” Koester said. “I wasn’t thinking about it until I was 7-for-7. During the game, we kept looking at the scoreboard, saying we have to get a picture of it, it was really fun getting like nine runs per inning.”
Hunter Niebrugge caught the entire marathon of the game, saying her knees did hurt “a little bit” Wednesday following the battle.
While she went deep twice and drove in six, she also understood what an experience the game was and will be.
“I’m just going to tell everyone, my kids, everyone (forever) pretty much,” she said.
So will I, and I wasn’t even there.