TUSCOLA – There may not be a tougher challenge than going up against Tuscola stalwart Morgan Day.
It hardly rattled Shelbyville freshman ace Joselyn Lewis, but Day and Tuscola's bats still mustered a 5-0 victory over the Rams in Saturday's Central Illinois Conference matchup.
Lewis went the distance in seven innings and gave up eight hits with six strikeouts.
Day was just better, after shutting down Fisher the previous day 6-1.
The Illinois State recruit struck out 10 and allowed just five hits and one walk.
“I just kind of worked what the umpire was giving me,” Day said. “He was giving me some low strikes and later on in the game I started going up in the zone and they were chasing high pitches. I just used what they were giving me.”
Day also produced two doubles and three RBIs against Lewis — none bigger than in the third inning.
After Tuscola sophomore Natalie Bates dished out the first run with an infield single, Day struck a 2-RBI double down the third-base line for a 3-0 advantage.
“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit,” Day said. “I hadn't really hit anything all day. I saw it up in the zone, but I knew it was good enough to hit. I took the barrel through the zone and hit.
“She (Lewis) did a really job mixing. She kept our batters guessing. I tip my cap to her for changing up her pitches really well.”
Lewis couldn't catch a break.
“They're an experienced hitting team,” Shelbyville coach Michele Petska said. “They've been hitting strong for several years and they're used to pitchers mixing it up and moving the ball around. They do a good job. I'm not taking anything away from Joselyn. Those are good hitters hitting good pitches.”
Tuscola (11-1, 2-0 CIC) padded the score 5-0 in the fifth after Day smoked another RBI double to the center field wall.
Bates and Alexis Koester each chipped in a pair of hits and an RBI as well.
Day improved to 9-0 in the process.
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“She didn't have her best stuff today, but she was really on against Fisher,” Tuscola coach Leonard Sementi said of Day, who struck out 12 batters against the Bunnies on Friday. “She's just very strong and works hard in the offseason in the weight room. She's just a strong kid. Her and Abbey Walsh have been leading us by example basically — just good kids.”
Tuscola brings big time firepower.
Day leads the way with four home runs so far, after totaling nine last year while Allison Clark and Abbey Walsh have three homers apiece.
Clark actually scorched a pair of jacks on Friday.
This time around, the Warriors used their speed with four stolen bases.
That was the most yet this season.
“I don't steal as much because last night we scored every run off a home run,” Sementi said. “We don't want to take a chance to get thrown out and the next girl hits a home run. We get away from bunting sometimes when we shouldn't and we don't steal.”
Shelbyville (6-3, 1-1) is a promising young team that revolves around Lewis.
Five different batters contributed a hit, but the Rams let a few chances slip away, including in the fourth when they started out with a couple of singles by Torre Koontz and Maddie Holland.
“We moved a lot of our experienced players into new positions and they are still learning their positions,” Petska said. “But they're coming out and giving a great effort. This is a team that has to grow with a freshman pitcher. She's got a lot to offer, but she's still a freshman.”
“It's a little different than last year. Last year's team we were heavy with seniors and now we're heavy with a lot of freshmen and sophomores — a lot of young talent. But they've done a great job of stepping into the big role that was vacated.” – Sementi