Softball: St. Bede wins third consecutive regional title

Bruins top Midwest Central 3-0, advance to Peoria Notre Dame Sectional

Members of the St. Bede girls softball team hoist the Class 2A Regional plaque after defeating Midwest Central on Friday, May 17, 2024 at at Abbot Phillip Davy Field.

The St. Bede softball team would love to win each of its postseason games by 14 runs similar to its regional semifinal victory.

But the Bruins realize sometimes they’ll have to gut out victories like the Class 2A St. Bede Regional Championship against Midwest Central on Friday as they raised their third consecutive regional plaque after a 3-0 win.

Each of the Bruins played their part, including senior Reagan Stoudt, who scored the first two runs of the game. She singled before scoring on a sacrifice bunt from Lili McClain and a Midwest Central error at third base in the bottom of the second inning and hit a home run in the fourth.

“I usually don’t know the ball is over the fence until I see it go over the fence, but I felt that one as soon as I hit it. I knew it was over,” Stoudt said. “Their pitcher (Izzy Passmore) threw fast and it took us some time to figure her out, but once we did, we were able to hit the ball and get runs across.

“We know we are not going to score a ton of runs in every game. That’s OK. We trust each other to do what we have to do to get the job done.”

Stoudt also got the job done in the circle.

She earned a complete game win, allowing one hit and no runs while striking out seven and walking none.

Senior catcher Bella Pinter, who has been catching Stoudt since they were 9, said they work on communication every practice and try to be on the same page.

At the plate, they had to talk to let each other know what Passmore was trying to do as she finished with seven strikeouts, no walks, seven hits, three runs (two earned).

“We haven’t seen that fast of a pitcher that much this season. We really just wanted to make stuff happen and put stuff together offensively,” Pinter said. “We knew if we got girls on base, we could get them around. Getting Ella Hermes and Lily Bosnich on base is huge for us because of how quick they are. We just focus on making stuff happen, knowing our role and know we’re not always going to hit triples or home runs. We need to put stuff in play and make them make a play.

“She was mixing a lot of pitches in and out. It was kind of hard for a lot of us to pick up on her. Once she started to slow down, it was easier for us to get on top. We definitely need to work on adjusting within our at-bat so we can get on top of quicker pitchers faster than we did against Izzy.”

The third run came for St. Bede (22-5-1) in the bottom of the sixth when Hermes led off with a single and was brought in by an RBI single from McClain.

St. Bede's Reagan Stoudt lets go of a pitch to Midwest Central during the Class 2A Regional final on Friday, May 17, 2024 at at Abbot Phillip Davy Field.

Throughout the entire game, whether it was defense or offense, coach Shawn Sons saw communication, hustle, and grit.

“Yes, we can hit the long ball. I think we have 28 or 29 home runs on the season. But you’ll hear me at third base, ‘Punches and bunches.’ We want base hits, especially when we have runners on,” Sons said. “They can do both. It’s one thing for me to call a bunt where you get a runner on, you get her over and get her in. It’s the girls who have to execute it. They’re so adept at doing it and in pressure situations, too.

“Right before Reagan took off when she was on first base in the second inning, I pointed at my eyes and pointed at third base. She said she knew. They weren’t pealing back. They had their catcher cover third base. She knew right away, if Lili gets a bunt down, I’m going first to third. She put the pressure on them, they threw the ball away and we ended up scoring the first run.

“We’re very fortunate as a coaching staff. We have a lot of great student-athletes. We have a lot of swiss army knives on the team. We try to work that in as much as we can in practice. When they’re playing different positions, they know where everyone has to go with the ball and where the throw has to go.”

The regional championship victory over Midwest Central (11-17) was the last game St. Bede at home.

The Bruins will play Riverdale in a Class 2A Peoria Notre Dame Sectional semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria.

“It’s nice winning a regional championship at our field. During the last two outs, Hermes kept saying, ‘Last two outs at Abbott Field.’ It’s just nice to know we ended on Abbott Field with a championship,” Stoudt said. “This game I really liked. I thought it was good for us to be able to compete. That’s a good team with a good pitcher. They were putting the ball in play. I think at the end, our girls started to believe in themselves inside the box a little bit more and understood they could hit the pitches no matter what. They began putting the ball in play, trusted their barrel and trusted the girls behind them could string something together. And that’s what happened.

“Now we need to do the same thing in the next game. We want to play the best to prove we have skills also.”

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