Softball Roundup- Eldon, Macks Creek and Climax Springs

MICHAEL LOSCH, Lake Sun Sports Editor
Eldon junior Chloe Ruark fires a pitch towards home plate in the opening round of district play against Blair Oaks on Wednesday, October 14, in Versailles.

Eldon falls in first round of district play to Blair Oaks

The bats of Blair Oaks were ready for the postseason Wednesday night in Versailles. 

The Falcons, seeded second in the Class 3 District 5 Tournament, met No. 7 Eldon in the first round and quickly got the offense to work in an 11-0 shutout over the Mustangs in five innings. 

"Blair Oaks is a pretty solid ball club from top to bottom and have been for years. They did a good job of putting the ball in play, they stayed behind the pitch and went where the pitch was thrown and stayed consistent with it," Eldon coach Dusty Purnell stated. "We were not able to make many plays behind it and we had a couple of issues where the sun got in the way, but we have to learn to adjust and make up for that. Use our offhand or glove hand until the ball gets close. 

"They are a solid ballclub and we pitched fine. We kept the ball in the zone and were just not able to make plays behind our pitcher tonight."

Eldon sent Chloe Ruark to the circle and she pitched all four innings allowing 14 hits and two walks. The Mustangs also had six defensive errors in the game. 

"She did fine and did what we asked her to do. She kept the ball in the zone and around the zone and low," Purnell said of his pitcher. "We got ground balls where we needed to get the groundouts and we got a couple of fly balls that were kept on the infield we were supposed to make plays on." 

Meanwhile, Eldon was able to muster just two hits on the night as Blair Oaks' Andi Siebeneck dealt six strikeouts. 

"We talked about it knowing she was going to tag the zone early and once she got ahead, she was going to keep the ball about hand-high. She'd mix in a pitch outside or kept the ball running up on us," Purnell pointed out. "Once she got us chasing it at the hands, it was something we could not keep up with there. When we did make contact, we had a couple of good hits towards the end there. It was good to see two of our three seniors get base hits to end their high school careers. It is not how you want to see them go out, but they put the ball in play and had some success there tonight." 

Eldon finishes the season at 5-16 and most of this group should be back with the program only losing three seniors. Purnell said replacing those seniors won't be easy, though.

"Those three are going to be tough to replace just because of their commitment, hard work and dedication to the program and the things they do for us on a day-in-and-day-out basis," he said of Savannah Holder, Madison Witt and Elizabeth Rush. "Those three seniors and their parents, we appreciate you all and we are going to miss you." 

Eldon was a team the coronavirus pandemic did not leave unaffected as the Mustangs missed several games early in the season due to quarantine and it was not a singular event either as lineups and strategies had to be adjusted. Still, the Mustangs powered through and got to complete the season in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

"These girls, they took it with a grain of salt and just kept moving and pushing through. We hit a road bump, went over it and kept going," Purnell remarked. "Any time it seemed like we got something going we'd hit another snag whether it be a player going off in quarantine or a road bump with something else. The girls did a great job of adjusting to everything going on and we cannot knock them for that." 

Now, the journey towards 2021 and hopefully, a season and world free from a pandemic, begins. 

Macks Creek tops Climax Springs in wild district opener, falls to Leeton in semifinals

It was a wild start to the postseason between Lake area neighbors Macks Creek and Climax Springs. 

And the finish was equally as exciting. 

Macks Creek was the fourth seed up against the No. 5 Cougars in the first round of the Class 1 District 5 Tournament at St. Elizabeth Wednesday night and with just one out left to spare in the seventh inning trailing 23-17, the Pirates rallied back for a 24-23 win. 

Macks Creek was actually up early, 8-1 in the second inning and extended the lead to 13-4 by the third. The Pirates held a 15-8 lead in the fourth before Climax Springs stormed back with 12 runs to take a 20-15 lead in the fifth that eventually set up the final rally on a night where a total of 47 runs crossed the plate between both teams. 

Macks Creek went on to face top-seeded Leeton in the district semifinals Thursday night and the Pirates were dealt a 19-0 shutout to end the season. 

Macks Creek wraps up the 2020 season at 4-21 and the Cougars finish 0-12.

This story will be updated with stats when they become available.