The MVK Lady Maverick Softball Team has earned a third consecutive trip to State!

Sept 16, 2023

IESA Sectional 1 Championship:    Lady Mavericks 9, McNabb Putnam County 8

In a back and forth contest at Mazon Centennial Park, MVK Middle School Softball came out victorious in their Sectional Championship game to earn a State trip for the 2023 season.

From the get go the outcome would be contested, as the Putnam County Pumas scratched first for 2 runs in the top of the first inning.

MVK would immediately answer in the bottom of the frame when Marlie Lissy started with a bloop single to right.  Morgan Starwalt then followed with a seeing eye single up the middle where Lissy pressed the defense to advance to third on the play.  In the next at bat, Brynlee Hunt would hit a hard ground ball toward short that turned into a fence finding, 2RBI triple.  The Lady Mavs would finish the scoring for this inning when Hunt would tag up and score on a Kaydynce Wardlow sacrifice fly.

The Pumas would then be held in check until the third, with Starwalt striking out two.  In the third, Putnam County would score another unearned run to tie the game at 3.  This inning could have been more for the Pumas, except for a great running catch during this time by outfielder Addison Kilmer (with her back to home) in right center.  MVK would immediately respond with 4 runs to take what appeared to be a commanding 7-3 lead after three innings.  Starwalt and Hunt started the rally with one out, hard hit singles to left.  Wardlow then doubled just over the third base bag, scoring both runners.  A few batters later, Grace Biros hit a groundball to short that was mishandled, scoring both pinch runner Jordyn Both and also Ameliah Weber from second base.  The McNabb team would not go away, however and scored 5 more runs over the next two innings, while the Mavericks were quiet, to take an 8-7 lead.

In the MVK half of the fifth, Wardlow started a rally with a hard ground ball to third.  Following that, a groundout from Weber advanced pinch runner Both to second.  Next, batter Brooklyn Sheedy hit a deep drive over the center fielder’s head for an RBI triple to tie the contest up again at 8.  Biros would then ground out to the Puma second baseman to score Sheedy.  The Lady Maverick’s defense would then takeover in the sixth to keep the momentum.  With Putnam County in scoring position, Wardlow contested the backstop for the second time in the game behind home plate and caught a high foul pop up for the inning’s first out.  Hunt then caught a hot liner to first from the next batter.

Finally, Starwalt popped up the next Putnam County player near the third base line – with Weber, Wardlow, and Starwalt all converging, Starwalt reached out and secured the catch as she ran near the fencing in foul territory for the third out to end the threat.  MVK would go quietly in the bottom of the frame to set up the seventh, still leading by one.  True to the fight that had been shown all game, a Puma batter led off the 7th with a double.  The next batter hit a hard liner to Biros at second for the first out.  The next Putnam County batter hit a ground ball to Hunt at first who took a tough hop into her chest and stuck with it to force the runner at first, while the runner advanced to third.  With two outs and the tying runner on third base, the next Puma batter worked a full count against Starwalt.  Starwalt then delivered what was the final pitch of the game, as her competitor watched strike three to end the game.  It was a very good, hard fought competition by both teams.

Offensive leaders for the game were Lissy (2-4, R), Starwalt (3-3, 3Rs, BB), Hunt (2-4, 3B, 2Rs, 2RBIs), Wardlow (2-3, 2B, 3RBIs), and Sheedy with the game tying RBI triple late.  Starwalt threw the complete game, allowing only 2ERs and striking out 4.

MVK (14-3) will play in the State Quarterfinals on Friday, September 22nd at 3:30 pm against the Bloomington Corpus Christi Saints (12-2) at Champion Fields in Normal, IL.

Bottom (L-R): Ameliah Weber, Kenley Kruger. Middle (L-R): Gia Rush, Harper Helland, Marlie Lissy, Kaydynce Wardlow, Morgan Starwalt, Lyla Wilkinson, Jordyn Both, Kendall Slattery. Top (L-R): Coach Hannah Hunt, Brynlee Hunt, Grace Biros, Addison Kilmer, Brooklyn Sheedy, Maggie Pfeifer, Masie Hunt, Casey Humphrey, Coach Tyson Wardlow, Coach Pat Starwalt. Not Pictured: Coach Josh Slattery.