Prep Softball

Blue Devils rocked by reigning champs to open regionals

By MARC NESSELER
Special to the Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 21, 2019 12:01 am Updated: May. 22, 2019 7:40 am

EAST MOLINE, Ill. -- The Rock Island softball team were pronounced ready to go for its state title defense.

Rock Island announced that by sending 14 batters to the plate in an 11-run first inning on the way to a 16-1 four-inning victory over Quincy High School in the opening round of the Class 4A United Township Regional Tuesday afternoon.

"I just think they are ready to go," Rock Island coach Chris Allison said. "Here it is, and we got off to a fast start.

"We have a senior-led team that has been there and they are ready to go. We have great leadership."

The 11 runs in the first inning was the most in an opening inning for the Rocks, and was the most in any inning this season.

Wind gusts of nearly 40 mph also helped the Rocks. There were two instances where the wind played to the their advantage, with Emma Spurgetis getting a wind-blow single in the first, and Abbie Bush with a double to left-center in the second.

The wind, though, also prevented the Rocks from not needing to bat in the bottom of the fourth. The third inning ended for the Rocks when a infield pop-up by Ashley Peters was called an infield-fly rule out, but it became an inning-ending double play when it fell to the ground.

Senior Lauryn Stegall hit a home run to left field. She hit a line-shot homer in the third. Between those was a double and she went 4 for 4 with four RBIs.

"We are just going one game at a time," Stegall said. "To repeat is not the goal; the goal is to one game by one game and doing all of the little things right."

The battery of Ashley Peters, a Purdue University signee, and Abbie Bush each had three RBIs, with Peters collecting three hits in the spot ahead of Stegall in the order. Three Rocks had a pair of hits -- leadoff hitter Taylor Pannell, cleanup hitter Delaney Kelley, who also blasted a home run, and Makenna Carothers.

Rock Island's first five hitters went 13 for 16 against the Blue Devils.

Peters used just four pitches to get through the top of the first inning in order. Then, with an 11-0 lead, she had it on cruise control. She allowed two hits, one being a solo home run by Quincy's Lauren Kroeger, while striking out seven and walking one.

"We just go pitch by pitch, play by play," Peters said. "I know my team has my back. We have a strong defense, and that helps a lot."

Rock Island advances to Saturday's regional championship game and will face the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 4 sectional seed United Township and No. 5 seed Bradley-Bourbonnais.

Rock Island 16, Quincy High School 1

Quincy 010 0--1 2 3

Rock Island (11)22 1--16 17 0

Wand, Neally (3) and Kroeger; Peters and Bush. WP--Peters. LP--Wand. 2B--Rock Island 2 (Stegall, Bush). HR--Quincy 1 (Kroeger), Rock Island 3 (Stegall 2, Kelley).