For more than five years, sporting two top-flight pitchers has been a ticket to state-level success for the Morrison softball team.|
That's a trend that has not only continued this season, but with a pair of standout hurlers at the junior-high level, looks to continue for many more years to come.
While senior Allie Wiersema has undoubtedly established herself as the ace of this year's stable of Fillies — her 8-1 record accounts for the lion's share of Morrison's 11-2 overall mark — the addition of freshman Lauren Pannier provides an able second-line hurler as well as a star in the making.
"We felt Lauren would be a real nice addition to our pitching staff," Morrison coach Tammy Deter said. "Her and Allie really complement each other."
That is part of why, after Wednesday's doubleheader sweep of Kewanee, the Fillies are in what has become a traditional spot for them at this time of the year — first place in the Three Rivers Conference with a spotless 7-0 record.
However, Deter has been around long enough to know it's still way too early to begin planning another conference-title celebration.
"We always think the conference race is going to be tight," she said. "That's why we always say that we play them one at a time."
Riverdale (5-3 overall) remains within striking distance with its 5-2 conference mark, which has the Rams tied with Sterling Newman. Both teams also have one thing in common — a standout pitching ace. Riverdale is led by senior Sadie Mosher; the Comets (who have not yet played any nonleague games) feature Laura Turnroth.
Lincoln Trail title chase
Sitting in second place behind undefeated Biggsville West Central, Mercer County has a chance to make its move in the Lincoln Trail Conference softball race this afternoon when it takes on the Heat at Aledo's Apollo Diamond.
With a 7-4 overall mark buoyed by a 7-2 LTC ledger, the Golden Eagles have their best shot to muscle in on the reigning conference champions (16-0), who have won all 10 of their league outings. Wednesday's 7-6 come-from-behind win over Rockridge should give them a good shot of adrenalin for today.
Last weekend, coach Cassidy Staker's club split a twinbill with Princeville. The Eagles' second-game victory proved key, as it kept them a half-game ahead of the third-place Lady Princes in the conference race.
Only two other LTC teams are .500 or better — fourth-place Stark County (5-3) and fifth-place United, which at 4-4 is a half-game up on Sciota West Prairie.
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