Mattoon’s Kasey Considine pulled a rocket shot to the left field fence that dropped anywhere from one to six inches on the wrong side of the foul line, depending on where fans were seated.
Either way, Mattoon was inches from an almost certain result of putting runners at second and third base with one out and a two-run deficit ahead of the Green Wave.
Instead, Considine grounded into a fielder’s choice as Teutopolis tagged out lead runner Avery Jackson to come within one out of the Lady Shoes’ 3-1 win.
“It was foul, but it was close,” Teutopolis head coach Rich Niebrugge said. “I got out (of the dugout) quickly and was looking, looking, looking.”
Considine’s near-double was only the first tense moment in a pressure-packed seventh inning against Teutopolis starting pitcher Kadi Borries, who kept the Shoes at a perfect 21-0 on Tuesday.
The Green Wave loaded the bases after the Shoes made the second out of the inning and Niebrugge gathered the infielders at the pitching circle to remind them of the strategy moving forward.
“I told them, ‘Let’s take a deep breath and focus on what we can do to win this ball game,’” Niebrugge said.
Riley Phipps was the tying run at second base and Niebrugge knew that a base hit by Kyliegh Basham would force a play at the plate.
Basham popped out to left field to end the game, stranding the bases loaded for a second time on Tuesday.
Mattoon left the bases loaded in the third inning, after scoring its first run of the game to take a 1-0 lead.
Considine drove in Jackson on a blooper to the outfield when Shoes shortstop Madison Cowman couldn’t locate the ball over her shoulder.
Borries struck out Basham to end the scoring threat, which would be the first of two times Basham recorded the final out of an inning with the bases loaded.
“Kadi Borries gave us a whale of an effort,” Niebrugge said. “Our defense let her down early and you can’t give a team like Mattoon, with their bats, an inch.”
Still ahead 1-0 in the fifth inning, Mattoon left runners at first and third base on a ground out to third base.
Cassi Dow slowed the Shoes’ offense through four innings, giving up only three hits, but Teutopolis snatched control of the game and chased Dow from the game in the fifth.
Raegan Drees started a string of five straight singles with one out in the fifth. She drove a ball through the infield, then stole second base by making a crafty slide to avoid a tag.
“She can be such a spark for us,” Niebrugge said. “She smoked that ball. We gave her the steal. What a great slide to avoid the tag.”
Drees’ single turned the Shoes’ lineup over to lead-off hitter Cowman, who continued the hitting burst. Anni Borries, Kadi Borries and Allison Apke all singled, with the latter three all picking up RBIs.
The Shoes had five hits for three runs in the inning, including a couple line drives right up the middle.
“These girls are never going to quit,” Niebrugge said. “They had solid approaches and we were a little more patient at the end.”
Borries didn’t fret after giving up a lead-off single in the sixth inning, retiring the next three batters. She pitched the complete game, giving up eight hits and striking out 11.
Teutopolis improves to 21-0 with the win and return to action at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against Casey-Westfield.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mattoon 001 000 0 1 8 0
Teutopolis 000 030 X 3 8 2
WP - K. Borries (7 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 11 K) LP - Dow (4 1-3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 K, 1 BB)
Mattoon: Jackson (1B), Considine (1B, 2B, RBI), Phipps (2 1B), Bath (1B), Basham (1B), Dow (2B)
Teutopolis: Cowman (1B), A. Borries (2 1B, RBI), K. Borries (2 1B, RBI, SB), Apke (2 1B, RBI), Smith (BB), R. Drees (1B, SB)