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Local

Big first, second innings lead Morris softball past Yorkville

MORRIS — When a team has lost a couple of recent games, the last thing that team wants to do is fall behind early.

The Morris softball team made sure that didn't happen Thursday.

The Redskins, who had dropped games to Providence and DeKalb in the previous six days, erupted for seven runs before making an out in the first inning in a Northern Illinois Big 12 East matchup with Yorkville and continued to score en route to an 18-3 thrashing of the Foxes.

Gigi Corban held Yorkville scoreless in the first inning as Dani Evans doubled with two outs but was left stranded at second.

That brought up Morris, and the hit parade began.

Jasmine Cook led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball, stole third and then scored when Abby Burns singled through the middle. Ashley Phelps and Janelle Brehm then each singled to load the bases for Ryan Friend. Friend then delivered a single that scored both Burns and Phelps, with Brehm taking third. When the catcher threw the ball back to the pitcher, Brehm broke for home and scored without a throw for a 4-0 Morris lead, with Friend taking second on the play. Rachel Trader then walked before Melissa Benson launched a three-run home run over the center-field fence for a 7-0 Morris lead.

"It felt good to go back out to the mound with seven runs," Corban said. "It's a lot easier to pitch with a big lead, and everyone was hitting the ball well today."

After the first out of the inning, Corban singled off the left-field fence before being doubled off of first on a line shot to first by Cook to end the inning.

Just in case anyone missed the seven-run first, the Redskins duplicated that number in the second. Burns led off with a walk before Phelps belted a homer to center. Brehm followed with a double and Friend walked. A double to left by Trader scored both runners and a grounder to second by Benson moved courtesy runner Abbey Moore to third. Olivia Schultz then reached on an error that allowed Moore to score and came home when Corban slugged a two-rum homer to left to make it 14-0 after two innings.

"It's been a tough week with a couple of losses," Morris coach Jen Lowery said. "We had a heart to heart with our seniors before this game and told them this was their team. All the seniors came up big today, so it was good to see them set the standard for the rest of the program."

Yorkville closed the gap to 14-3 in the top of the third on a three-run homer by Haylee Reyes before Morris capped the scoring in the bottom of the fourth when Cook came up with the bases loaded. She smacked a deep drive over the right-fielder's head and chased everyone around the bases before sliding into home with an inside-the-park grand slam, the Redskins' fourth homer of the day.

"I felt really good at the plate today," said Corban, who was 2 for 2 with a walk and two RBIs from the No. 9 slot in the order. "We had some incentive today to come out here, put those losses behind us and move forward."

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