MATTOON — Bella Coffey missed her initial chance to tie the game in the sixth inning against Shelbyville. With Avery Risinger at third base, the squeeze play was called. The run would’ve tied the game at 10, but Coffey missed the call and didn’t even offer at the pitch.
Coffey found a way to make up for it, though. A little later in the at-bat, Coffey hit a two-run home run to put Mattoon up 11-10, and the Green Wave went on to win Friday at the Roundhouse Complex.
“I called for a squeeze and missed it, so I knew I had to defend myself because I knew I was going to get yelled at, so I was under pressure,” Coffey said. “I wasn’t really on today, but I just stayed focused and took it where it was pitched.”
Dow said the home run was a good way for Coffey to atone for the missed squeeze play.
“Thank goodness that she didn’t get (the squeeze). She knew she was going to get in trouble if she didn’t put a ball in play. She stepped up,” Mattoon coach Hannah Dow said. “She’s been a good vocal leader for us.”
It was only the third game of the season for Mattoon after several rain-outs and the first win as the Green Wave improved to 1-2. Flurries were falling throughout the game.
“We were joking around before the game it didn’t matter if it was snowing or raining, we were going to play today and sure enough, it’s snowing,” Dow said. “The girls are itching to play. The first two innings were slow for us, and we haven’t been outside since the game on Saturday, so it’s good to see them fight back.”
Mattoon had its share of miscues in the game, which helped the Rams score 10 runs, and the Green Wave fell behind 5-0. But Mattoon’s offense piled up the runs from the third inning on and pulled off the comeback victory.
“It was a big win because we knew we were going to be in trouble if we lost this one because of our sloppy play,” Coffey said. “We just knew we needed to chip away and take it one hit at a time. Delainey Bryant had a big game, and our hits came in the right spots.”
Shelbyville coach Michele Petska was encouraged despite the loss because the Rams still put 10 on the board.
“There were a lot of hits on the board, they just had a couple go out with runners on. It was a slugfest for both teams and it was a good game,” Petska said. “You have two teams that can hit. It was their day, and they hit one that put them ahead, that was about it.”
Shelbyville went up 1-0 on a two-out single by Brianna Reed in the first inning. In the second, a run came across on an error, and Sydney Trainor brought in two more runs with a single for a 4-0 Shelbyville lead. Then in the fifth, Jaylin McCabe hit an RBI double for a 5-0 advantage.
Mattoon’s offense broke through in the third. After three straight singles to start the inning, a run scored on Coffey’s fly ball to left field, and another run scored on an error. Then Bri Poehler hit a two-run single to pull Mattoon within one at 5-4.
Reed hit a two-out RBI double to put Shelbyville up 6-4 in the fourth.
In the bottom half of the inning, Delainey Bryant and Avery Risinger hit back-to-back RBI triples, and Risinger scored on an error to give Mattoon its first lead at 7-6.
Shelbyville retook the lead on McCabe’s two-run double, and Savannah Marty hit an RBI double for a 9-7 advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth, Paige Arthur hit an RBI double to make it a 9-8 game.
In the sixth, McCabe hit an RBI single to make it 10-7.
Mattoon rallied in the bottom half of the inning. Bryant drove a pitch over the left field fence for a solo home run. Bryant, a freshman, was a double short of the cycle, scored three times, hit a home run and drove in two runs.
“Delainey stepped up and made a lot of great plays at shortstop along with going 4-for-4 and almost had a cycle,” Dow said. “It’s her first home run in high school. She’s going to play a big role for us this year at short and in the lineup.”
Risinger followed with a double, and Coffey then sent an offering over the left field fence for a two-run home run to put the Green Wave up 11-10.
Shelbyville got a runner to second with two outs when Arthur got a groundout to end the game.
“Paige stepped up and threw a great couple of innings,” Dow said. “It was good to get that confidence for all of them, and getting that win under their belts was big.”