Softball: Plainfield Central knocks off Neuqua Valley
All good things do come to an end eventually.
Neuqua Valley’s magical postseason run, one in which it upset Benet last Saturday in the Class 4A Plainfield South Regional final, concluded with a 2-1 loss Wednesday to Plainfield Central in the East Aurora Sectional semifinal, pitting two talented Wildcats teams against one another. Neuqua Valley entered play as the No. 9 seed in the sectional while Plainfield Central was seeded fourth.
In a battle between two top-notch pitchers, Plainfield Central’s Morgan Vogt outdueled Neuqua Valley’s Jamie O’Brien.
“Morgan pitched a great game,” Plainfield Central coach Anne Campbell said. “They’ve got some good bats and they’ve been hot lately, so she did a very nice job of keeping them off balance.”
Both were good enough to earn the win.
Vogt (11-2) twirled a five-hitter, going seven innings for the victory. The Plainfield Central senior southpaw struck out five and walked just one.
O’Brien (13-11) held her own with a six-inning three-hitter but took the loss. The sophomore right-hander fanned five for Neuqua Valley but also walked four, the only glaring blemish on an otherwise impressive stat line. She did not allow a hit over her final three frames.
Neuqua Valley (22-16) scored first in the first, parlaying a leadoff double by O’Brien into a run. Kat Widup (2-for-3 with a stolen base) reached on a bunt single and with one out, cleanup hitter Kelsey Dominguez reached on a suicide squeeze play that brought home O’Brien. Vogt stranded two runners in scoring position that inning.
Plainfield Central (26-8) scored both of its runs in the bottom of the third. A leadoff walk to Rachel Egly keyed the rally, as she came around to score on Kaleigh Nagle’s one-out double. Dominique Roa then cracked an RBI single for the go-ahead run.
Both teams left six runners on base for the game. That stat turned out to hurt Neuqua Valley the most.
In the fourth, Neuqua Valley got a leadoff single from Dominguez and Brooke Meyer reached on an error while trying to sacrifice Dominguez to second. With no outs, Alyssa Domico laid down a bunt but Dominguez was caught off the base rounding third and was tagged out for the first out of the frame.
Megan Hannigan walked but a 1-2-3 double play a batter later ended the inning.
“It was a game of a double,” Neuqua Valley coach Melissa Wilson said. “We needed a double to get our runs across the board.”
Each team was sound defensively, making only one error. Dominguez was robbed by Egly on a sensational diving play to start the sixth. Neuqua Valley would threaten in the seventh but Rebecca Lincoln’s single went for naught. Lincoln was forced out at second on Katie Cruse’s fielder’s choice grounder for the second out of the inning and O’Brien lined out to short to end the game.
“We just needed to get the ball through the infield and then they made some really great plays,” Widup, a senior, said. “They’re a good team. They beat us on the field today.”