MORRIS — Before Saturday's matchups with Class 1A No. 1-ranked Somonauk and Class 2A No. 5 Seneca, Morris softball coach Jen Bamonte said she would probably be happy with a split.
The Redskins (15-12) made their coach ecstatic, toppling Somonauk, 11-1, before exploding for eight runs in the sixth inning and beating Seneca, 8-1.
"Those are good teams," Bamonte said. "It helps us to play them because they are well-coached and play the game well, and it helps them to see a bigger team like us. We happened to really bring it today."
One of the main bringers was pitcher Gigi Corban. She threw all 13 innings, six against Somonauk and seven against Seneca. All told, she allowed 12 hits and two walks while striking out 13. She had the strikeout ball working against Seneca, racking up 11 whiffs.
"That's the best I have seen Gigi throw," said Seneca coach Dan Stecken, who coaches Corban's summer team. "The most we had struck out in a game this year was nine times, and she had 11 against us. We tip our hat to her, for sure."
Corban got out of jams twice early in the Seneca game. In the bottom of the first, Taylor Bushman and Lyda Robinson led off the inning with singles, and the Irish had runners on second and third with no outs, but Corban induced a popup to short and struck out the next two batters. In the second, Brittney Helms led off with a oduble and stole third before Corban fanned the next three hitters.
Seneca (24-2) finally got on the board in the third. With one out, Robinson tripled and scored on an RBI single by Kylie Winsor.
Seneca's Anne Krull held Morris scoreless through five innings before the Redskins' bats woke up. Claire Gugerty led off with a single and Olivia Schultz walked. A single by Ashley Hood loaded the bases, and a single by Taylor Nelson scored Gugerty with the tying run. An out later, Kennedy Dransfeldt singled to center, scoring Schultz and Hood for a 3-1 Morris lead. Abbey Moore followed with a single that loaded the bases before Ashley Phelps singled to score both Nelson and Dransfeldt. Rachel Trader then sliced a single to right to score Moore and make it 6-1. After a strikeout, a single by Schultz loaded the bases and Hood capped the inning with a single to right, scoring Phelps and courtesy runner Megan Gerischer.
"The third time through the lineup, we finally got to her [Krull]," Bamonte said. "Once someone figured it out, they all did."
Against Somonauk, Dransfeldt went 5 for 5 with an RBI and scored three runs, while Gugerty was 2 for 3 with a two-run homer and three RBIs. Phelps had two hits and two RBIs.
"Kennedy gets on base a lot, and she usually scores when she does," Bamonte said. "We don't have a lot of speed as a team, but she has it and she uses it well.
"Gigi just seems to put it in a higher gear when she gets into a jam and is able to get out of it. She has a lot of faith in her teammates, but it's nice that she can get that strikeout when she needs it, too."