YOUTH SOFTBALL: Bi-County wins Little League District 20 title

Bi-County’s Ava Lambert (No. 11), Maggie Richetta (center) and Paxton Stunkel celebrate after defeating Peru in the District 20 Little League Softball championship series in Peru.

Storylines were not hard to find for the District 20 Little League Softball championship series held Saturday and Sunday at Veterans Park in Peru.

In Game 1 on Saturday, Bi-County scored five runs in the sixth for an 8-5 comeback victory over Peru.

Bi-County was sparked by an injury on the field and a strong performance by pitcher Ava Lambert.

With Courtney Oliver cheering in a wheelchair for Sunday’s Game 2 after injuring her leg while running to first on a bunt on Saturday, Bi-County came out ready to play.

Lambert threw another gem and timely hits led to a 5-2 victory to give Bi-County the D20 title.

“When Courtney Oliver got that bunt down and moved Valeria Villagomez over to third, we went on to get a run (and cut the Peru lead to 4-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth on Saturday). I felt we had a chance to win the tournament right then and there,” said Bi-County coach Rob Spratt, who led the same group to the Minor League state tournament in 2017. “That ignited it. I hate to lose Courtney like we did, but when she laid down that bunt with all of the heart she had, that’s what we needed and it sparked the whole team.

“We all went to the hospital to see her and we got her McDonalds.”

Game 2

Bi-County 5, Peru 2

Peru, which hadn’t lost in the D20 tournament heading into the weekend, scored the first run in Sunday’s title-deciding game.

Lili McClain reached first on an error and her sister Quinn McClain connected for an RBI single.

However, Bi-County answered with three runs by pinch runner Madison Boggio — who was running for Maggie Richetta — Villagomez and Eme Bouxsein in the second and added a run by Lambert in the third to take a 4-1 lead.

“They played their hearts out,” said Peru coach Chris Politsch, who led the group to third in state a summer ago. “We had runners left on second and third three times and a runner left on third in four innings. We just weren’t getting the base runners in (Sunday), but we were putting the ball in play.

“We only had (four) strikeouts the entire game. We put the ball in play and they made plays on us. You can’t take anything away from the Bi-County team.”