PONTIAC — Had a pebble in the Pontiac infield dirt laid a different way, or had Coal City third baseman Abby Gagliardo not been heads up enough to not touch it and hope it would finally roll foul — which it ended up doing — Herscher’s Zoey Fleischauer would have executed one of the most perfect squeeze bunts to be found on a high school softball diamond.

With the Tigers trailing Wednesday’s IHSA Class 2A Pontiac Sectional semifinal 6-5 with the bases loaded and one out in the top of a seventh inning that had already seen them plate three runs, Fleischauer took it upon herself to lay down a squeeze with speedster Mary Kanak representing the tying run on third and Gagliardo playing at a somewhat traditional depth at the hot corner.

By the time anyone other than Fleischauer, Kanak and Herscher coach Mike Cann had realized Fleischauer was attempting a game-tying bunt with the bases loaded and a force out at home, the beautiful bunt flirted with the foul line as it rolled from home plate towards third base in what would have been a surefire game-tying RBI bunt single.

Mason Schweizer is an award-winning reporter who has been with the Daily Journal since 2017 and sports editor since 2019. Save for time at the University of Illinois and Wayne State College, Mason is a lifelong area resident.

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