Class 3A Softball: La Salle-Peru tops Streator 5-4 in regional semifinal

Cavaliers move on to Friday’s title game against Metamora

L-P's Karmen Piano reacts after scoring a run against Streator during the Class 3A Regional semifinal game on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at Metamora High School.

METAMORA – Over the course of a softball game, a team can use great pitching, great hitting or great fielding to key a win.

For La Salle-Peru in Tuesday’s Class 3A Metamora Regional semifinal against Streator, it came down to base running.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Karmen Piano singled, then stole second, third and home to give the Cavaliers what proved to be the winning run in a 5-4 victory over the Bulldogs, who trailed 5-0 after Piano’s steal of home.

“I helped win us the game, and that’s really as a player what you want to do,” Piano said after being asked if she knew what she had done in that inning. “We talk about having the green light to steal, but today I was waiting for coach to give me the OK. I always want to be aggressive and try and use my speed the best I can.

“On the steal of home, coach said he thought the catcher was slow getting it back to the pitcher. I just tried to time it and luckily timed it right. I guess looking back it was a pretty big run for us.”

La Salle-Peru (17-16) now plays top-seeded Metamora at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the championship game.

Streator ends the season at 10-20.

“I just had a haircut earlier this afternoon, and I guess I really didn’t need it because I lost all of them,” L-P coach Randy Huebbe said with a laugh. “Taylor [Vescogni] hadn’t pitched in two weeks, and I could see her tiring, but she did a great job. Then Callie [Mertes] came in was able to get out of things with us still having the lead.

“Karmen really does it all for us, but her speed is huge for us. This was a good team win. Everyone had each other’s back’s and really played hard.”

L-P scored one in the first on back-to-back doubles by Mertes and Ava Lambert.

The Cavs added three in the second on two wild pitches and an RBI groundout by Kelsey Frederick.

Streator scored all of its runs in the sixth on an error and RBIs from Caitlin Talty, Reagan Morgan and Ava Glisson.

“We knew we would eventually get to [Vescogni], and we did,” Streator coach Louis Ondrey said. “The first three innings were a little rough with the young team we have, but they all really stepped up there in the sixth inning, and we almost came all the way back to get this one.”

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