MINOOKA – Whew!
That was the reaction of Minooka softball coach Mark Brown when asked his initial thoughts on his team’s 6-5 walk-off victory over Oswego at home Thursday.
“The softball gods gave us one today,” he said. “We got one today. They let us off the hook.”
Brown’s reaction came after the Indians rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The final run scored with two outs against the Panthers.
Minooka put up one run in each of the first three innings against Oswego to take a 3-0 lead.
In the first Caty Bell walked, Marissa Burns was hit by a pitch, a wild pitch moved the runners and senior Meghan Quirk delivered an RBI groundout for the first run.
In the second, Caroline Brown walked. Haleigh Sullivan reached on a fielder’s choice and one out later scored on an RBI triple by Alyssa Hajduk. The third run came when Brown singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored one out later on a sacrifice fly by Quirk.
“Early on, our offense was spotty getting a run here and a run there,” Quirk said. “It took us a while to finally piece it together when we had to.”
“We couldn’t get that big inning early on,” Brown said. “The first three innings we were right there knocking on the door. I think if we would have gotten a bigger inning there it would have been a different game.”
But it wasn’t.
Oswego got on the board against Minooka’s pitcher Hajduk on a solo home run by Brooke Riess, and then broke through against the sophomore southpaw with a four-run sixth. Minooka relief pitcher Caroline Brown came in with the bases loaded and no outs to help the Indians stay close at 5-3 heading to the bottom of the sixth.
“Carolyn did a good job there by coming in with the bases loaded and limiting their big inning,” Brown said. “It gave us the chance to win.”
Minooka got a run in the sixth when Sullivan singled, Lauryn Lewis doubled and Hajduk singled, but it was the seventh inning when the action really heated up.
The Indians scored twice in the inning, taking advantage of two Oswego errors, including Sullivan reaching and pinch runner Emily Wielbik scoring on a walk-off throwing error by the Oswego second baseman.
It was an exciting moment for the Indians.
“It was definitely. I think we are a team that stays in it really well,” Quirk said. “We’ve come back before. We knew that we could do it.”
“The team kept battling and that is a good sign so far,” Brown said. “This team has a lot of fight in them. They don’t give up and play a full 21 outs.”
Minooka is now 7-4 on the season and 2-0 in the Southwest Prairie Conference. The Indians are 4-1 at home.