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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Softball: The 1 that got away

  • Harrisburg gives up one hit in 1-0 loss to Herrin
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  • The story line going into Tuesday’s matchup between Harrisburg and Herrin revolved around a pair of senior pitchers that know each other very well.
    Aside from competing in other sports, Harrisburg’s Hanna Jones and Herrin’s Tori Johnson are two of the top pitchers in southern Illinois.
    The two play travel softball in the summer together and are about to embark on a journey that will keep the two in touch as Jones signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at University of Tennessee Martin, while Jones will play for Eastern Illinois in the Ohio Valley Conference.
    On Tuesday, the two lived up to the billing in a classic pitcher’s duel that saw Johnson’s Tigers come away with a 1-0 win in eight innings and Jilek Field.
    Jones suffered her first loss of the year for the Bulldogs (11-2 overall, 2-1 in the SIRR Ohio Division), going the distance giving up the one run on one hit, while striking out two and walking three.
    The lone hit Jones surrendered came in the top of the bottom of the eighth inning when Rebecca Moffett smoked a leadoff double to left field.
    Lexi Chrostoski provided a sac-bunt to move Moffett to third and Melissa Meracle followed with a sharp grounder to Whitney Younger at shortstop, who couldn’t pull the trigger to get a sliding Moffett out at home.
    For Harrisburg head coach Red Stafford, he knew it was a game no one deserved to lose and one that he wish his Bulldogs could have won.
    “That was a well pitched ball game by both Hanna and Tori,” Stafford said. “We had a feeling it was going to come down to one break, Herrin got it and we didn’t. We had a couple of chances to score, but we didn’t and against good pitching, when you have a chance to score you better take advantage of it or it will come back and haunt you. That’s what happened today.”
    Johnson finished with 12 strikeouts to stay perfect on the year as Herrin improved to 7-5 overall. Johnson scattered three hits, while walking three.
    The Bulldogs stranded a runner on second base in the second, third and fourth inning, all with one out, but just couldn’t capitalize.
    “We caught a bad break, that’s what I was talking about earlier. Hanna smoked a ball (in the third inning) that a foot to the right or a foot to the left was extra bases for sure. That’s part of the game and something we will have to learn from.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Kaitlyn Hutchinson, McKenzie Sullivan and Morgan Douglas had the three hits for the Bulldogs in a loss that Stafford hopes will be a silver lining.
    “I hope that our group realizes that they can play with just about anyone in southern Illinois,” he said. “We’ve improved so much defensively from last year that we’re a whole different ball team. It’s unreal how much better we are. That’s the difference in us winning and losing a lot of these ball games this year.
    “Hopefully they’ll take something away from it that will be positive on down the road.”
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