STATE SOFTBALL: St. Bede places third

St. Bede senior Maggie Sons reacts after scoring the the first run of the Lady Bruins’ 2-0 victory over Calhoun in the Class 1A third-place game Saturday in East Peoria.

EAST PEORIA — For six innings, the St. Bede softball team couldn’t figure out Calhoun pitcher Sydney Baalman.

The Lady Bruins did not get on base while striking out 15 times in the first six frames.

“We were all talking in the dugout and it was definitely her riseball that got us all,” St. Bede senior Maggie Sons said. “She is one heck of a pitcher.

“We tried to make adjustments at the plate. Our second time around we tired to do the split grip to get ground balls and just get it in play so we could get some runners on. That didn’t really work. We knew we had to change something and we did.”

In the seventh inning, the Lady Bruins relied on the bunt.

Despite still not recording a hit, St. Bede managed to scratch across two runs to pull out a 2-0 victory in the Class 1A third-place game at EastSide Centre.

“It’s a great feeling,” St. Bede coach Rob Ruppert said. “We told the girls coming into today, ‘Hey, we’re not done. We have something to play for today.’

“It was a heck of a game. We got no hit and we still won the game. That has to be an anomaly. It doesn’t happen very often that you get no hit and win a game. We executed when we needed to and got the runs.”

The third-place finish is the highest ever for a girls team at St. Bede.

“It feels amazing,” Sons said. “(Friday) we had a dirty taste in our mouth (after losing in the semifinals), but (Saturday) we went out and did it. We’re making records at St. Bede. We love it.”