GENESEO -- Long one of the area's most successful softball programs, Geneseo opened its season by earning its 700th victory.|
Since then, wins had been a little hard to come by for a youthful group of Lady Leafs, who had dropped five of six games since that historic win.
Geneseo hopes it changed its fortunes with Monday's hard-earned 4-3 decision over Rock Island at the J.F. Edwards Complex.
"We're really hoping this game sets the tone for the rest of the week,'' said Geneseo pitcher Jena Reddig, referring to a busy week that has the Lady Leafs (3-5) playing every day. "It's nice to show we can beat anyone, if we play our best. If we can keep improving, we're going to win more games.''
Besides working four innings of four-hit, five-strikeout ball to improve to 2-3, Reddig also helped herself at the plate. With the Leafs trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the third inning, Reddig blasted a two-out offering from Rocky hurler Hannah Hart high over the left-center field fence for the equalizer.
An inning later, the hosts took the lead for good on a one-out RBI single by freshman Maddy Shoemaker.Geneseo got a key extra run in the last of the fifth when sophomore Jennifer Yager was hit by a pitch on a play disputed by Rock Island coach Steve Ebner, who thought the ball had hit Yager's bat before striking her forearm.
Following a single by Reddig (2-for-3), Darian Gillette's sacrifice fly made it a 4-2 game. Yager picked up her second save in relief of Reddig despite giving up an unearned run in the top of the sixth. Rock Island (2-5) had the tying run in scoring position with one out in the seventh, but Yager slammed the door.
"We needed a win, and it didn't matter how we got it,'' said Geneseo coach Bob Pettit. "We're similar teams in that we both hit the ball well; I'm actually surprised at the low score, but we'll take it. Jena's bat came alive, we hit her in the No. 3 hole for a reason. She was able to keep them off balance enough, and Jen threw a different look at them.''
Early on, the teams exchanged runs, with the Rocks scoring in the first on Jasmine Ragusi's RBI double and Geneseo tying the game with an unearned second-inning run. Rock Island went up 2-1 in the third when junior Hailey Feldhahn (2-for-4) doubled and scored on Ragusi's fielder's choice.
However, Ebner was concerned with his club's approach even before Monday's game started, and felt it showed in the final result.
"I didn't like our attitude (Monday) when we warmed up,'' he said. "I don't know what it was. We were flat, and we had no reason to be; it was a beautiful day to play. That's something we're going to work on. Not to take anything away from Geneseo, but we played pretty flat. I could make a lot of guesses as to the reason why, but they'd be excuses, and there's no excuses.''
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