Morris softball opens NIB12E slate with win over Yorkville

MORRIS – Both the Morris and Yorkville softball teams certainly know each other by now. Not only are they Northern Illinois Big 12 East Conference rivals, but the Redskins and Foxes opened the season against each other already in downstate Jacksonville last month.

Just like the first result, Morris came away with a win, this time in the league opener by a 5-1 score.

“The last time we played, we beat them, 3-0, down in Jacksonville, but they threw a different pitcher at us,” Morris coach Jen Lowery said. “This girl we faced today (Madeline Avery) was hitting corners and had some movement on her ball. We were  able to adjust to that the second time through the lineup.”

“We were excited coming into this game,” Morris senior captain Maddy Feeney said. “We knew that they were going to pitch a different pitcher, and we were ready to go. We executed well off of her.”

Trailing 1-0, the Redskins scored once in the second on a single by Taya Torkelson, a sacrifice bunt by Alex Cook, a groundout and a throwing error to tie the score. Then in the third, Leah Lines reached second on an error by the Yorkville left fielder, and Kelly Kolotka singled but was thrown out at second when Lines scored. With one out, Feeney singled, stole second, went to third on a ground out and scored on an RBI single by Lauren Severson.

“We’re executing and getting the bunts down when we need to,” Lowery said. “We also had timely hits, and it paid off. We got people on base and got the hits when we needed them.”

“We work off of each other a lot. When one person gets a hit, it seems like we all get a hit,” Feeney said. “But even if one doesn’t get a hit, it seems like the team will continue hitting,”

Morris added its final runs in the fifth inning. Lines doubled to start the rally and one out later, Feeney singled her home. After stealing second, Kellen Bernickus,  then doubled her home

The beneficiary of the offensive attack was freshman pitcher Abby Burns. She allowed six hits while walking none and striking out four in notching the complete-game win.

Morris is 11-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference action. The Redskins play DeKalb on Thursday at home.

“Conference is big. We finished well in conference last year, and the girls want to finish at the top of the conference this year,” Lowery said. “It would seem that we are kind of the underdogs in the conference this year.”

First pitch against the Barbs is set for 4:30 p.m.