Rock Island wins 4A state softball title in drama-filled finale
If they all were going to be champions, Ashley Peters knew she had to do what her Rock Island teammates have come to expect of her.
“That was the hardest inning in my life,” Peters told the Dispatch-Argus after surviving a bases-loaded, seventh-inning jam in preserving Rock Island’s 2-1 win over Plainfield North to earn the school’s first Class 4A state softball title. “I have never walked and hit so many batters in my life.”
To be exact, Peters hit back-to-back hitters in the seventh, both of them coming after she had already allowed a leadoff homer, to cut her team’s lead in half, followed by a sharp single.
“We were calm all day and we needed to stay that way in the seventh,” Peters added of her attitude at that point. “After the home run, my teammates came in and reminded me to relax. I just stepped behind the rubber, refocused and told myself I had to do it for the team.”
As all the drama unfolded, Rock Island coach Chris Allison said he never lost faith or confidence in his star hurler.
“Yeah, I’d rather it not be so exciting at the end, but Plainfield North has a really good club,” he told the Dispatch-Argus. “That was the 14th really tough inning for Ashley in two days and she stayed strong when she had to be. I knew she would throw strikes and my only question would be if we would be relaxed and make the defensive play.”
For most of the evening, Peters and Plainfield North’s Greta Thompson traded zeros, allowing just seven hits between them.
The Rocks finally struck first in the fourth when Emma Spurgetis reached on a comebacker that eluded Thompson with runners on the corners. Delaney Kelley, who had reached on a one-out single, came around to score the game’s first run on the play.
The Rocks’ got another run in the sixth on a solo blast to left by Lauryn Stegall. From there, Peters provided the finishing touches, albeit with a little drama.
The win was Peters’ 21st of the season for Rock Island, which finished the season at 32-5.