Prairie Central Regional softball win for Hawks

Lindsey Hari committed an error that opened up a two-run inning for Watseka in a Class 2A Prairie Central Regional semifinal game Wednesday afternoon. But the Prairie Central shortstop made up for it an inning later by launching a two-run homer that gave the Hawks the push they need to roll to an 11-5 victory.
    The win moves Prairie Central into Saturday’s championship game opposite top-seed Bishop McNamara.
    “Lindsey, the first time, had a long at bat before she made an out,” PC head coach Tim McGuire said. “Once she did that (homered), everybody fed off it.”
    The homer triggered an eight-run inning for the Hawks, who trailed 2-0 after the top of the third.
    Natalie Schroeder hit a grounder between Hari’s legs for Watseka in the third. Another error and then a one-out double from Magan Harris gave the Warriors the two-run edge.
    But the Hawks answered in the fourth inning. Addison Casner drew a leadoff walk, which is considered a cardinal sin in the game, and then Hari launched her roundtripper over the fence in left center to tie the game at 2-2.
    Heidi Meister, who would come up big later in the game, followed with a double and Jadyn Stephens walked. Kate Winterland walked to load the bases with no outs.
    Anna Hale also walked to force in Meister with the go-ahead tally. Faith Bachtold reached on a fielder’s choice as the score remained 3-2.
    Winterland came home when Brianna Seeman walked and Amber Graf had the second big hit of the inning with a bouncing single up the middle that plated Hale and Bachtold that made it 6-2.
    Seeman scored on a passed ball and Hari singled to drive in her third run of the inning as Graf scored for an 8-2 advantage.
    “She was quick,” McGuire said of Watseka hurler Harris. But I thought after we got the through the lineup one time … we had some really good at bats. I think their pitcher tried to overthrow after that.”
    Watseka came in with an 18-5 record, so the Warriors weren’t going away. They tagged PC starter Bachtold for three runs in the fifth inning to pull to within three, at 8-5.
    Still, the Hawks weren’t satisfied with sitting on eight runs. Seeman tripled in the last of the fifth that drove in Hale and Bachtold for a 10-5 lead.
    “They were resilient, hung around, and put some things together,” McGuire said of his team.
    Watseka bounced back, as well. Bachtold ran into trouble in the top of the sixth as the Warriors loaded the bases with one out. McGuire made a change in the circle and brought in Meister, who proceeded to strike out Harris and get Kennedy Bauer to pop out to Seeman at second.
    “It was absolutely huge what Heidi did,” McGuire said. “The three and four hitters are the best hitters on their team. She hit every spot I called. Us coming back and scoring was huge, too.”
    Prairie Central tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Hari scored on a Stephens single up the middle.
    The bad news in the home half of the sixth was Meister getting hit by a pitch at the ankle area. She hobbled off the field after the third out and did not return. Bachtold went back to the circle and retired the Warriors in order for the win.
    Bachtold fanned six, walked six and allowed six hits and five runs. Meister had a punch out in facing two batters.
    Hari had a home run, single and drove in three runs to lead the Prairie Central (12-13) offense. Bachtold also had two hits while Seeman tripled and drove in three runs. Graf had a hit and two RBIs and Stephens had a hit and RBI. Meister doubled while Hale also drove in a run.