Trailing by a score of 8-0 heading into Thursday’s sixth inning, the chance of the Morris softball team improving to 17-1 looked bleak.
And despite a six-run sixth that would give them new life, the Redskins would drop their first conference game of the season against the visiting Kaneland Knights, 8-6.
It was a dreary day at the MCHS softball diamond, and the Redskins hadn’t been in action in nearly a week, which might of had something to do with Morris’ slow start.
“We got to learn and we have to find a way to come out ready to go,” Morris head coach Jen Lowery said. “We can’t come out in the fifth, sixth and seventh inning and start waking up. We’ve talked about that and that’s been an issue all season, not just [Thursday] after all that time off.”
Morris and Kaneland traded zeroes for the first two innings before Kaneland exploded with a five-run third inning that put the home team in a major hole.
Senior outfielder Lanie Callaghan had a two-run single that started the scoring for the Knights, but it was Hayley Contorno’s three-run home run off Morris freshman Abby Burns that really broke things open for Kaneland.
“We know that Kaneland’s always one of the top teams in our conference, and their record [10-9] doesn’t say much about how good of a ball club that actually is,” Lowery said of her NIB12 East rivals.
Kaneland was able to add to the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth and a run in the sixth that extended its lead to 8-0 before Morris’ bats finally came alive.
Morris led off the inning with what appeared to be a leadoff strikeout, but senior first baseman Alex Cook was able to beat out a drop third strike. It would be the first of five consecutive base runners to start off the sixth inning, and all five would eventually score.
Three straight singles by Emily Moore, Burns and Taya Torkelson would push Cook across for the first run. Before the inning ended, a pair of errors and a walk would inevitably plate six Redskin runs.
In the seventh, Burns was able to battle out of a tight spot with runners on second and third to hold the score at 8-6.
However, the seventh inning wasn’t to be for Morris.
The Redskins put the tying run on first when Leah Lines laced a two-out single into left field, but Morris would go down on strikes for its final out to end the game.