CHARLESTON -- Amidst the thunder and lightning, and the lengthy one-hour delay, Monday’s Taylorville Regional play-in game between Effingham and Charleston turned out to be quite the battle in the early stages.
The Lady Hearts scored two runs in their first at-bat, and were neck-and-neck with the Lady Trojans until the sixth. Effingham scored one in the top of the frame to knot the game at three runs apiece, but Charleston scored five in its last at-bat of the day to deal the Lady Hearts a season-ending 8-3 defeat.
“It was actually a good ballgame until the sixth,” Effingham coach Jerry Trigg said. “We didn’t know what might happen after the delay.”
Kelli Utz was hit by the game’s opening pitch, and less than two pitches later, thunder cracked across the sky, forcing a delay that lasted upwards of an hour.
The momentary break didn’t seem to have any effect on the Lady Hearts’ bats, as Brandy Pontius doubled to restart the game with a deep ball to left field. The powerful drive scored Utz for the game’s first run. Effingham’s Kaylee Tonn drove in the second on a line drive to center that found a Charleston glove, but Pontius tagged up and crossed home safely to open up an early 2-0 lead.
“We were feeling pretty good,” Trigg said. “Our hitters did a good job, even every out was a hard-hit ball.”
Charleston’s offense was also ready for battle. The Lady Trojans scored one run in the first and two in the third, taking a 3-2 lead that would stand until the sixth inning.
Deedra Myers led off with a base hit, and courtesy runner Gloria Rivera stole second in the ensuing at-bat. Shelby Nunamaker shifted all the momentum back in favor of Effingham with her RBI hit, but the celebration would be short-lived.