EAST PEORIA — In the bottom of the first inning, the St. Bede softball team let Illini Bluffs know it was at Friday’s IHSA Class 1A state semifinal to not just be there, but to advance to the championship.
SBA’s No. 3 hitter Gianna Elias took the first pitch thrown to her by Tigers starting pitcher Kierston McCoy over the left-field fence to give the Lady Bruins a one-run lead after the first inning.
“I was excited,” said Elias. “We watched their game (Wednesday), so I knew where she was going to pitch with the first pitch. It was a good feeling.”
However, the SBA offense fell flat and the defense committed four errors — one in the third, two in the fourth and one in the seventh — as Illini Bluffs took advantage of the miscues for a run in the third, a run in the fourth and three in the seventh to defeat the Lady Bruins 5-1.
Illini Bluffs will play Goreville — which defeated Calhoun 2-0 in 12 innings in the second semifinal Friday — in the championship at 11:30 a.m. and St. Bede will meet Calhoun at 9 a.m. in the third-place game.
“I think if we just got it going even a little bit (we could have won),” Elias said. “We are so good at following it up once we get it going, but we just couldn’t finish it. I think they’re definitely a good hitting team and we did have some errors, but we just needed to pick each other up.