Call it revenge now for No. 1 Manteno against No. 18 Peotone on Monday in Manteno.
The 3-1 Interstate Eight conference win for the top-ranked Panthers that avenged a regional playoff loss from last year won’t be celebrated for long. The two teams meet again Tuesday in what should be another exciting matchup.
For pitcher Brook Stulga, it was well worth the wait against the Panthers’ biggest rival.
“Yeah this felt good, they are always a quality team,” Stulga said. “This is a big rivalry in all sports.”
Stulga improved to 25-0 overall, giving up three hits, striking out three and walking three while going the distance. She got immediate support from the offense, which put up two in the first inning and one in the second.
Carly Trepanier scored the first run of the game for the Panthers (28-0) on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by three-hitter Sammy Beckwith. The Blue Devils (15-6) tried to get Trepanier at the plate but she scored easily. Meanwhile, Beckwith broke to second and scored on the overthrow that almost went to the fence in center.
The teams combined for seven errors.
“I’ll take the win anyway we got it I don’t care how it happens,” said Manteno coach Josh Carlile, whose team committed three errors. “We obviously have to clean things up before tomorrow. But overall not a bad day.”
The Panthers scored again in the second when Beckwith was walked by starter Allie Johnson (6-1) with the bases loaded. That would be all for Johnson (1 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 K, 2 BB), who was replaced by Emily Carstens. Carstens struck out six, allowed two hits and walked none. The Panthers’ Kierstynn Kinast (2-for-3) was the only player for either team to get multiple hits.
The score remained 3-0 until the top of the fifth when the Blue Devils grabbed an unearned run on an RBI single by Carley Maupin that scored Shelby Marchionda, who reached on an error.
“The team that got off the bus wasn’t the team that played the last six innings of this game,” Peotone coach Andy Zwolinski said. “Definitely wasn’t Allie’s fault, she came out and just didn’t have it. Luckily we are blessed with two great pitchers and Emily picked her up there.
“The best thing is we have a second chance tomorrow.”