STREATOR — There are some players that have the ability to come through in certain situations.
For Streator junior Rilee Talty on Friday afternoon, that spot was batting with one out in the top of the fifth inning, facing a full-count pitch with the bases loaded in a one-run game.
Talty smacked the payoff offering from Woodland/Flanagan-Cornell pitcher Shae Simons over the centerfield fence for a grand slam which helped the Bulldogs to a 6-3 victory and a first win of the season.
“I honestly thought (the ball) had bounced over the fence, but then I saw Kandence (Ondrey) rounding second jumping and with her hands up in the air I knew it was out.”— Streator junior Rilee Talty on her fifth-inning grand slam home run against WFC
“I had a really good feeling that the (full-count) pitch was going to be inside because that was where Shae had been pitching me all game,” Talty said, adding Simons is her best friend and the two have been playing travel ball together since the fourth grade. “I was ready for the pitch to be right where it was and jumped on it. I feel like I’m a good two-strike hitter, I guess I just like the pressure and I feel I can succeed in those situations.
“I honestly thought it had bounced over the fence, but then I saw Kandence (Ondrey) rounding second jumping and with her hands up in the air I knew it was out.”
The contest, which was moved from Woodland to Streator due to wet grounds, was tied at 1-1 heading to the fifth.
WFC (1-2) scored in the first when Olivia Chismarick worked a leadoff walk from Streator starter Leilani Zavada, advanced to second on a ground out and third on a wild pitch before scoring on a bunt single up the first base line by Simons.
Streator (1-1) tied the game in the second as Zavada doubled, and with two outs, scored on a double by Kylie Simpson.
Zavada (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) then retired the next nine hitters and 13 of 14.
“This performance for Leilani was huge,” Streator coach Louis Ondrey said. “She tore her ACL the day COVID shut everything down a couple years ago and hasn’t really pitched much since. She’s been working hard to be that other pitcher along with Makenna for us. Leilani did an excellent job all game or if she did get behind on a hitter, coming back to find a way to get the out more times than not. She made the adjustments she needed to as the game went along and kept them at one run until we could really get the bats going.
“At the plate we really hit some balls hard today. We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be in our first game against IVC the other day and that is something we’ve worked on and talked about since. Shae is a very good pitcher, so to get as many hits and hard-hit balls we had was really good to see.”
Leading up to Talty’s shot in the fifth, Mya Zavada had a one-out double, followed by a single from Lily Kupec, a walk to Emma Augustine and a RBI single by Kadence Ondrey.
WFC closed to within the final margin in its half of the fifth on a two-out, two-run double to right center by Ella Derossett after Jaylei Leininger had walked and Chismarick singled.
Simons finished allowing 11 hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
“Our quality of at-bats were down the first couple of times through the order,” WFC coach Mike Hoekstra said. “I would have like to see us hit the ball better the first three innings or so, but that said, this is only our third game, and like almost every team around, we are still adjusting to live pitching outdoors. We’ll get there with the bats, sooner if the weather starts to cooperate. I also felt like we played a pretty solid game in the field.
“(Shae) got behind in the count in a couple of key times and the Streator girls were ready. Other than the big inning they had I felt like Shae pitched pretty good and we hung right with them.”
Streator is scheduled to be back in action on Tuesday with a trip to play Washington, while WFC will host Serena on Monday.