The La Salle Major League softball team came up just shy of a state championship Sunday, falling 3-2 to Beardstown in the title game in Rock Falls.
Macy Strauch started for La Salle and pitched an inning and a half before Bri Ruppert took over and allowed just one hit the rest of the way.
Strauch drove in Kelsey Frederick, while Sophia Pyszka and Ruppert also had key hits.
“The team played outstanding,” La Salle manager Mike Pyszka said. “We played like a team. It was a well-rounded team we got beat by.”
In the semifinal, La Salle scored all five of its runs in the fifth inning in a 5-1 victory over La Grange.
Strauch earned the win in the pitching circle. Pyszka had two hits, while Addison Piecha had an RBI.
“Really all the girls from top to bottom hit the ball,” Mike Pyszka said. “We had a big fifth inning and everybody contributed. Strauch had a dominant performance.”
Mike Pyszka said he was proud of his team’s runner-up finish.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” he said. “The girls played great. To get this team together in four weeks and make it into the state finals is a second to none feeling. It’s a good group of kids and a good group of parents as well. I couldn’t be prouder. We had great support from the community. The place was packed with supporters of La Salle softball and we really appreciate that.”
On Saturday, La Salle cruised past Moline 15-0 in three innings. Strauch tossed the shutout for La Salle.
“All players contributed with the bat and played solid defense,” Mike Pyszka said.
At River Forest
The Peru Junior League softball team lost in heartbreaking fashion in the state tournament Saturday.
Peru rallied to score three runs in then top of the seventh inning to tie the game only to see Evergreen Park respond with a run in then bottom of the frame for a walkoff 5-4 victory that ended Peru’s run.
Peru trailed 4-1 entering the top of the seventh before Charlie Pellegrini got things started with a double.
Lili McClain singled to give Peru runners on first and second and Izzy Pecchio hit an RBI groundout.
With two outs, Grace Pecchio hit a two-run double to tie the game.
Before the seventh, Peru had trouble pushing runs across.
“We put the ball in play every batter. We did not strike out the whole game,” Peru manager Mike Pecchio said. “We could not find a hole. We were hitting it at people. It was amazing. We had people on every inning. We just couldn’t get them in. It was frustrating.”
Earlier Saturday, Peru beat Rock Falls 8-5 in an elimination game.
Callie Mertes dominated in the circle, striking out 17 batters in seven innings. She also went 4-for-4 at the plate. Mertes pitched the final three innings of the second game as well, striking out six batters to finish with 23 in 10 innings on the day.
Also against Rock Falls, Jordan Whaley went 3-for-4 and Carly Garretson was 2-for-4.
“It was a great tournament,” Mike Pecchio said. “We lost to the top two teams by a combined three runs, so we were right there. If you throw the teams n a hat on any given day, it’s probably a different team that comes out on top. It was a great ride with these kids. I know La Salle (Major League) had a great run this week as well. It’s nice to see these kids participate in city ball. These kids loved it. They had a great time. I’m just happy for them and proud of these girls.”