United Township's "Pink Panthers'' were left a little red-faced Saturday.
Alleman took advantage of three errors to push across four unearned runs in a 7-5 Pioneers' upset win to open a crucial Western Big 6 Conference softball doubleheader.
But even though UT's embarrassment translated into an angry, 14-2 five-inning drubbing in the nightcap, the twinbill split did more than sour the mood during UT's third annual "Paws for a Cause.''
With both teams donning special pink jerseys for the player-driven breast-cancer awareness and fundraiser, UT's two-time defending league champions were backed into a rather precarious corner.
In next Saturday's Big 6 finale, the Panthers (17-3, 7-1 Big 6) need to sweep at defending Class 4A state champ Moline to retain the league title. Anything less will result in a league title for the Maroons (16-7, 8-0).
Alleman (15-8, 4-4) closes league play next weekend by hosting Big 6-winless Galesburg (6-21, 0-8).
"We had to come back and win,'' UT senior Lizzy Goebel said after going 3-for-4 with a home run and six RBIs in the nightcap. "If we'd have lost both games, it would have made next weekend impossible. Now, we at least have a chance to win the Big 6 outright, and we don't want to share.
"I'm disappointed. I wish it was two (league) unbeatens going after (the title) next weekend. But we can't go back and fix the first game.''
Alleman rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the opener.
Izzy Anderson, the Pioneers' freshman third baseman, hit a two-out, two-run homer in the third inning to answer a two-out RBI double in the second by UT's Jamie VanWatermuelen.
In a fatal fourth frame, a passed ball and a pair of Panthers' errors helped stake Alleman to a 6-1 lead on UT ace Brooke Prior (11-2).
UT rallied to within the final score in the sixth, mounting a two-out comeback on an RBI single by Prior and a two-run single by Jen VanWatermuelen.
However, Alleman ace Avery Nelson (10-2) weathered the storm thanks to leftfielder Anna Wetherell's running catch on Erin Walker's line drive to the fence.
"If that falls, it gets us within one run with Erin standing on second base. So that was a game saver,'' UT coach John Alonzo lamented. "Same with their third baseman (Anderson) going into the hole on a ground ball that would have scored another run. We hit the ball well in both games, but they made some plays and we stumbled a little bit (in Game 1).''
The opposite was true in Game 2 with Alleman committing five errors.
Heather Johnson (6-1) also shut down the Pioneers on seven hits, allowing only a two-run homer by Lexy VandeMoortel in the third to make the score 7-2. VandeMoortel also doubled in Alleman's only multi-hit effort in the nightcap.
"We're young. We're going to make physical mistakes,'' Alleman coach Mike Ebner said. "But you have to forget them when you do and come back to make the next play. But we didn't do that in the second game.
"I'm disappointed we didn't battle back. We started making mistakes and we hung our heads. We were just satisfied with winning the first one and that was disappointing for us as coaches.''
Along with Goebel's big game, UT got two-hit efforts in the 12-hit nightcap from Johnson, Walker (3-for-8, 3 runs, 1 RBI in the twinbill) and Jen VanWatermuelen (4-for-7, 3 runs, 2 RBIs in the twinbill).
Prior (3-for-8, 5 runs, 2 RBIs) and Charlotte Park (3-for-6, 2 RBIs) also had three hits in the doubleheader.
"They're a really good team,'' Anderson said about UT. "So this was a big win for us because it tells us we can play with anybody (when the postseason rolls around).
"We also didn't have a chance to win the conference title, but we wanted to help figure out who does. We wanted to spoil their chances and (the upperclassmen) wanted to get revenge for them beating us twice last year (during the `Paws for a Cause').''
Wetherell (2-for-5, 2 RBIs), Nelson (2-for-7), Mackenzie Sanchez (2-for-5, 3 runs) and Chasney Jenkins (3-for-4, 1 RBI) joined Anderson (2-for-7, 2 RBIs) and VandeMoortel (2-for-2, 2 RBIs, 3 runs) in enjoying multi-hit twinbills for the Pioneers.
Today is Saturday, May 25, the 145th day of 2013. There are 220 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: The annual review of the fire department of this city took placeyesterday and made a fine showing with machines and hose carts in tip-top order. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Last night's prayer meeting at Central Presbyterian Church wascalled off due to water in the basement, residue of last week's flood. 1913 -- 100 years ago: The junior class of Rock Island High School will hold a riverexcursion on the steamer St. Paul next Tuesday. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The 75th Anniversary of the Rock Island Arsenal today finds thenation's largest ordinance manufacturing plant filling many important orders for the army. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Miss Patrice Daly, Rock Island, a senior at Rock Island HighSchool, won second place in the recent state public speaking contest held in Peoria underthe auspices of the Knights of Pythias. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Hampton's sesquicentennial committee and the Hampton HistoricalSociety have scheduled a full slate of activities, which will be held throughout the year, to celebrate the village's 150th birthday. The first celebration will be the Memorial Dayprogram at 10 a.m. May 30, at the Brettun and Black Store Museum on River Road. Therewill be a sesquicentennial display.