High School Softball: Providence tops Mattoon for 3rd in 3A
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org June 9, 2012 12:36PM
A Providence fan cheers from the stands during the third-place game. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 9, 2012 6:08PM
EAST PEORIA — A trip to Buffalo Wild Wings helped ease the Friday pain.
An almost flawless effort resulted in Saturday’s gain.
Providence left EastSide Centre with smiles after defeating Mattoon 2-0 to claim the third-place trophy in Class 3A.
“It’s not first place, but we’ll take it,” junior pitcher Amanda Wilson said. “I definitely wanted to get this win for my team.
“We worked really hard all season. I think it shows. Third place is a great accomplishment. I’m happy.”
In the circle, she was brilliant for the Celtics (29-13), going the distance and firing a two-hit shutout. The left-hander allowed singles in the first and seventh innings, but was otherwise perfect, striking out eight.
During one stretch, Wilson retired 16 consecutive batters.
“I thought she pitched a great game today,” Celtics coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “Amanda was dominant. For her to go out in a third-place game and pitch a two-hitter and basically just shut the team down was tremendous.”
Her only really nervous moment came in the bottom of the seventh, when after Melanie Sparks cracked a leadoff single and moved to second on a grounder, the Nos. 4 and 5 hitters were looming.
Biesterfeld made a trip to the circle.
“I thought about making the switch (to right-hander Allie Strick),” he said. “But then I thought, ‘OK, let’s see what she does with the next hitter.’ ”
Wilson struck out Riley Phipps swinging on a 3-and-2 offspeed pitch and whiffed opposing hurler Kacey Starwalt to end it.
“(Coach) told me last night (about starting) and I was happy,” Wilson said. “I was kind of preparing last night. And it was a good game.”
The frustration of squandering multiple scoring chances on Friday continued early in Saturday’s game when two Celtics ran into outs on the bases in the first two innings. But the third inning brought a payoff when Jessica Jatis led off with a single and came in on a double by Sarah Brightmore.
“That was exciting because I knew we needed at least one run,” Brightmore said. “I just had to do my job out there.”
Starwalt shut the Celtics down over the next three innings, but Providence added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Ellie Bartosz led off with a single, and pinch-runner Sarah Deppert went to second on a passed ball, took third on a sacrifice by Tara Airola and scored on a groundout by Jatis.
“We didn’t do our jobs yesterday and it was really important for us to go out and score today,” Jatis said. “I knew I just had to do what I had to do and get some runs for my team.”
The 13 runners left on base and the tough eighth inning in the semifinal against Marengo on Friday were nowhere to be found on the faces of the Celtics.
“You know, we had to get over it,” Biesterfeld said. “I mean, it was a tough loss (Friday), but we wanted to come down and play well in two games. Whether it was a championship or a third-place game we needed to come out and play well. We did enough offensively, and defensively and pitching-wise we were fantastic.”