Softball: Wild sixth inning leads Plainfield Central to victory over Plainfield South

Wildcats score 5 runs without a hit in the penultimate inning to get the victory

Plainfield Central's Tricia Hogrefe

PLAINFIELD – Wild. That’s the appropriate word to describe Wednesday’s softball game between Plainfield Central and Plainfield South.

And not just because the Wildcats got the win.

A weird game throughout, the sixth inning was as wild as you could get with the Wildcats scoring five runs without registering a hit, three of them on wild pitches during the same at bat. That gave Central a wide enough margin to feel comfortable before taking home a 12-4 win.

Central (10-4) looked like it may have done enough to take the victory in the top of the fifth inning when they scored three and took a four-run advantage. A three-run homer by South in the bottom of the inning changed that in a hurry as the Cougars trailed by just one before Central put up five runs on three wild pitches, a passed ball and an error in the sixth.

“The overall feeling is that when we get runners on and put the pressure on the defense we can make things happen,” Central coach Kate Walsh said. “I think we did that tonight. We got our baserunners in good position and we put the ball in play.”

Things were interesting from the start as Hailie Boardman’s RBI groundout scored Ariana Olinger in the bottom of the first to put Plainfield South up 1-0. Plainfield Central responded in the top of the second with a two-out RBI single from Addison Zitello to score Laney Barbic and tie things up.

Things remained knotted up until the top of the fourth when McKenna Ignasak smacked an RBI single to score Maeve Carlton to put the Wildcats in front 2-1. They increased the lead to 3-1 on a steal of home by Tricia Hogrefe in the top of the fifth and made it 4-1 on an RBI single by Carlton to scored Jamie Crawford. Ignasak’s RBI single immediately after scored Carlton to make it 5-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, however, Kendal Pasquale flipped the script with a three-run homer with two outs to score Giana Zumdahl and Kate Beu to pull the Cougars back within one.

In just half an inning, the script flipped back in Central’s favor. Evalyn Prochaska scored on an error in the top of the sixth to get things started before Hogrefe scored on a passed ball. Later, with two outs, Crawford, Zitello and Barbic all scored on separate wild pitches to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the day at 10-4.

Hogrefe hit a two-run homer to score Ava Sommerfeld and give the game its final score.

“I’m super excited,” Hogrefe said. “Our team has really battled this week. We beat Joliet West yesterday 11-1, and we usually have close games with them so that was a big win. Today, we just came out on top. We kept battling. It was great.”

Hogrefe finished 4 for 5 with two RBIs and three runs to lead the way. Ignasak went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Crawford struck out eight batters while scoring twice.

For Plainfield South (6-10), it was the third time in four games they ended up on the wrong side of the win-loss column. While Pasquale (2 for 3, three RBIs) had an outstanding game, fielding and pitching errors ultimately doomed their hopes for victory. Still, the Cougars were taking plenty of positives away from the game to build toward the future.

“We made some errors we didn’t want to make,” coach Tara Miller said. “We had some throws we didn’t want to make. Those physical errors will happen. Everyone is going to have a bad game, but the biggest thing is to not let this game define the rest of our season. We’ll take this, learn from it and get better the next time.”

Plainfield South will visit Joliet Central at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, while Plainfield Central plays Yorkville at 4:30 p.m. Monday.