WILLIAMSFIELD — Both of Tuesday's Class 1A sectional semifinal softball games at Williamsfield High School went into extra innings.
In the first contest, West Central came away with a 1-0 eight inning victory over Sterling Newman Central Catholic.
Ridgewood went toe-to-toe with Peru St. Bede in the second affair, but the Spartans came up short and fell to the Bruins 4-3 in nine innings.
West Central coach Scott Swiler would have liked to seen a few more bunts against Newman Central Catholic but the Heat did enough to survive and advance. They performed marvelously with their gloves on their hands against the Comets, and Swiler hopes that continues.
"That was a fun fun game. It was a good battle up and down," Swiler said. "I thought or lineup did a great job seeing pitches. They were seeing five or six pitches each at bat which ended up paying off in the long run.
"We didn't panic, and we could have panicked," Swiler added. "We weren't getting the bunts down though and that was frustrating. We didn't let that boil into the next inning, so I think that's the good part. We've got a couple days to work on that. We're still in a good position. Defensively, we did exactly what we wanted to do."
West Central (27-6) will take on St. Bede at 7 p.m. Friday in Williamsfield with a sectional title on the line.
"We're just going to control what we can control," Swiler said.
After seven, Comets and Heat hadn't scored
Despite several opportunities for both the Comets and the Heat neither team was able to notch any runs in the first seven innings.
All three Sterling Newman Central Catholic batters — Madison Duhon, Ady Waldschmidt and Jess Johns — who stepped into the box in the top of the eighth against West Central starting pitcher Addie Seitz grounded out.
The Heat's Sam Meyer struck out to open the bottom of the eighth. Brynna Seitz followed with a slap single, and Addie Seitz was intentionally walked. Mackenzy Ludington followed, and she struck out.
Brynna Seitz, who moved to second on a 2-0 count with Addie Seitz at the dish, scored the winning run a batter later.
Center fielder Bailey Ryan hit a two-out single to right field which plated Brynna Seitz and gave West Central the victory.
Addie Seitz allowed three hits, fanned four and walked one for the complete game win.
The Comets were only able to notch a trio of hits against the Heat, and they left six runners stranded.
Spartans plate three in top of fourth
Down 1-0, Ridgewood's Becca Lindsey drew a one out walk in the top of the fourth. Hallica Warren- Anderson followed with a single, and she ended up at third base after Lindsey got caught in a rundown between third and home but got out of it, and Lindsey scored the Spartans' first run.
The next batter, Brook Jones, singled on a bunt, and Warren-Anderson scored on a passed ball with Taylor Pace at the dish to give Ridgewood a 2-1 lead. Jones eventually scored to make it 3-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Bruins responded with a run, and they trailed 3-2. The next inning, St. Bede added a run to tie the outing up at 3-all. The score remained that way until the bottom of the ninth when Reagan Stoudt hit a two-out walk-off single. Sophomore Ella Hermes scored to give the Bruins the win.
"I couldn't be more proud of these girls and a 25-6 season," Spartans coach Renae Leander said. "We had our opportunities multiple times and St. Bede just got one more good bounce than we did so hats off to them.
"We had a ton of offensive opportunities, and we just didn't produce when we need to do so," Leander added. "I'm not hanging my head. I'm extremely proud of them. We have some great seniors leaving but I have seven starters coming back next year. It only looks up from here."
Ridgewood sophomore Mya Brown allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits, struck out 15 and issued two walks in 8 2/3 innings and received the loss. Brown threw 148 pitches, and 119 of them were strikes.
The Spartans had only three hits and committed two errors.
"Maya had a ton of great defense behind her but we did falter a lot on our defense and I think that made the difference in the game," Leander said. "I think the wind was really tough to play in but both teams had to play in it.
"I think we needed to get our bunting going a little bit more," she added. "I think the small game was working for us a little bit better."
Matthew Wheaton can be reached at (309) 315-6073 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewlwheaton
This article originally appeared on Galesburg Register-Mail: IHSA Softball: Heat outlast Comets; Spartans rally but come up short