The Morris Redskins had a scheduled 4:30 p.m. Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East varsity softball game start right around 5 Thursday when DeKalb arrived in Morris late.
It took even longer for the DeKalb offense to show up, but in the fifth inning, it did in a big way, as the Barbs scored five times. Save for senior first baseman Laney Torkelson, who went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run, the Redskins' offense never really arrived.
DeKalb claimed a 6-1 victory to remain unbeaten on the season. Morris remains winless after a five-hit, no-walk, eight-strikeout effort against DeKalb freshman left-hander Morgan Newport.
"I think we need to get more used to outside and inside pitches — don't wait for the perfect pitch, because you probably won't get it," Torkelson said. "We need to learn to adjust to wherever the pitch may be and hit it."
Morris was down 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Torkelson hit a one-out triple to right-center field. She scored on a groundout by Taya Torkelson.
But DeKalb got the run back and then some in the top of the fifth. Tayler Garland drew a leadoff walk, and after a sacrifice bunt, a Taylor Warner single and a fielder's choice loaded the bases. Hannan Walter drove in Garland with the winning run as part of a two-run single. Another sacrifice was followed by a Jessica Townsend RBI single and a two-run double by Newport before Morris righty Erica Gualandi finally escaped.
"That was real upsetting for us," Torkelson said. "We were all down after that happened, you could definitely tell. We need to do a better job of keeping our head up and keep playing our game."
Apart from the fifth inning, Gualandi held the Barbs without an earned run. They scored once in the first when Walter singled and came home on the first of two Morris errors in the inning.
"She has been solid for us all year," Morris coach Jen Lowery said of Gualandi. "She's thrown strikes more consistently than last year. She almost never walks anybody."
Other than the triple and a one-out sixth-inning single from Laney Torkelson, the Redskins supported Gualandi with just three singles, from Gualandi herself, Kellen Bernickus and Maddy Feeney. They batted twice, and had no hits, with runners in scoring position.
Morris did turn a pair of double plays. One went 1-6-3, Gualandi to Leah Lines to Laney Torkelson, in the fourth inning. The other ended a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth when Bernickus made a running catch in center field and got the ball in quickly enough to retire a runner who had strayed too far off of first base. But the Redskins also committed four errors.
"Every game so far has been against a good, quality opponent," Lowery said. "We knew DeKalb was going to be tough. We played them to a one-run game the last two years, but we have to hit and field better to play with them."
DeKalb 1, 5 innings
Alex Hardie (double, 2 RBI) and Laurel Harper (stolen base) each went 2-for-2 for the Redskins, who improve to 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the NIB12 East. Emily Moore homered in three at-bats, and Taylor Cole had 4 RBI. Harper pitched four innings and allowed one run for her first win.