MOUNT ZION — The game simply could not come soon enough for Chayse Ramey.
The Mount Zion junior pitched all 10 innings against Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg on March 25 in a game that was called a tie because of darkness in the 10th inning.
Ten grueling innings and no decision. Ramey couldn't forget it.
On Friday against WSS, when Mount Zion coach Greg Blakey called Ramey's name to pitch in relief of starter Audrey Eades with a runner on and one out in the fifth inning and what was once a nine-run lead dwindling away, she was more than ready to deliver and avenge the game more than a month ago.
Ramey pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief for the Braves, allowing three runs and only one of them earned while striking out five to hold off the Hatchets for a 12-8 non-conference win between two teams that are powerhouses in their respective classes.
“I was so determined to beat them and get them all out," Ramey said. “I’ve been waiting for this game forever."
For WSS (32-1-1), it was the first loss of the season — and the first since May 8 of last season — with the postseason around the corner as it tries to repeat as Class 1A state champion.
For Mount Zion (23-2-1), it was a signature win over one of the state's premier team across any class as the Braves look to return to East Peoria in Class 3A, where they finished fourth last season.
“That’s a great ball team," Blakey said. "That’s their first loss this year. I can’t tell you the last time they lost, to be honest. That’s a quality team. They’re as good as any team we saw last year in the Final Four of the state."
Ramey is part of a Mount Zion pitching staff that is deep and talented. This isn't the first time she's entered a game late and saved a win for the Braves, and don't bank on it being the last.
“Chayse did a great job," Blakey said. "She’s done a good job for us all year of coming in and shutting the door on some good teams. She’s done a really nice job for us."
For as good as Ramey was in the circle, the bats backed her. Mount Zion led off with back-to-back home runs to center field from Dayna Kennedy and Eades and hung nine total runs in the first two innings. In total, the Braves hit three bombs with the third coming on a two-run shot from Kynzie Wrigley in the fifth inning.
But the bottom of the order was key for Mount Zion. The Nos. 7-9 hitters of Stephanie Hurm, Gabbie Koslofski and Emma Ewing combined to go 6-of-11 with seven RBIs. Koslofski was 3-of-4 with four RBIs.
“We were on it. We knew we had to do our job, so we did it," Koslofski said.
The postseason starts on Tuesday for WSS, but Friday's loss to Mount Zion wasn't the end of the world. After not losing in 367 days, the Hatchets saw plenty to work on.
“We’ve won every game other than them twice," WSS coach Craig Moffett said. "We haven’t had a lot of close games and we haven’t had a lot of situations where teams run on us and bunt on us and things like that. It was good for us to work on those situations, too."