Mercer County falls to third in LTC after splitting with A-W

Posted Online: April 27, 2013, 9:26 pm
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By Terry Duckett,
ANNAWAN -- If they wanted to maintain their pursuit of a Lincoln Trail Conference softball title, the Mercer County Golden Eagles knew nothing less than a sweep would do on Saturday.

But after using a 13-run sixth inning to outslug Annawan-Wethersfield 18-9 in the opener of its LTC twinbill at Howes Park, Mercer County couldn't maintain its momentum as the Titans got an early jump on freshman pitcher Katie Weeks in the second game and rolled to an 11-1, five-inning victory.

"Absolutely, we needed the sweep,'' said Mercer County coach Cassidy Staker, whose 9-7 club falls to 9-5 and into third behind LTC-leading Biggsville West Central and second-place Stark County. "But it's hard to do that with a freshman throwing all the time. The longer she's out there, the more they'll start hitting the ball.''

Sophomore Bailey Swanson, the Golden Eagles' other starter, has been out the past three weeks with a muscle injury in her left leg, and her return is still up in the air. "Not having more pitching options, that hurts,'' said Staker.

Meantime, Annawan-Wethersfield (9-10, 7-8 LTC) got another boost in that department as junior ace Megan Foes made her second start since returning to the circle following a back injury. Two days after spinning a three-hit shutout against ROWVA, Foes scattered five hits and struck out six in the second-game victory.

"This feels good,'' she said. "It was frustrating, because I couldn't get better and I felt like I was letting the team down. It feels good to be back out there again, and my team supports me 100 percent and is working hard behind me.''

After Titan pitching issued 15 walks in the opening-game setback, Foes (6-1) knew she needed to deliver a steady performance to help put the first game behind them.

"I knew it was a new game,'' she said. " We just had to start fresh, and forget about the first game. That worked for us.''

A two-run homer by A-W catcher Celina VanHyfte opened a three-run first for the hosts, who then tacked on four more runs to take control. Foes helped herself with two hits and two RBIs, with Emillie Wright driving in two runs.

In the opener, VanHyfte (two hits, two RBIs) also homered as the Titans took a 7-2 lead into the top of the sixth. That's when Mercer County broke loose for its big 13-run inning, helped along by several walks and including a two-run Morgan Weeks homer and a two-run single by Hannah Kirkhove.

"We're kind of slow starters,'' said Staker, "but once we get started, we have a tendency to really get the ball rolling. We just need to do it sooner, and not put ourselves in a pressure situation.''


Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rev. R.J. Humphrey, once a clergyman in this city, was reported killed in a quarrel in New Orleans.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Citizens Improvement Association held a special meeting to consider the proposition of consolidating Rock Island and Moline.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The home of A. Freeman, 806 3rd Ave., was entered by a burglar while a circus parade was in progress and about $100 worth of jewelry and $5 in cash were taken.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The million dollar dredge, Rock Island, of the Rock Island district of United States engineers will be in this area this week to deepen the channel at the site of the new Rock Island-Davenport bridge.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Argus "walked" to a 13-0 victory over American Container Corporation last night to clinch the championship of Rock Island's A Softball League at Northwest Douglas Park.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Immediate Care Center emergency medical office at South Park Mall is moving back to United Medical Center on Sept. 1. After nearly six years in operation at the mall, Care Center employees are upset by UMC's decision. The center is used by 700 to 800 people each month.

(More History)