HERSCHER — The Herscher Tigers already have had some solid comebacks this season, but none has been more impressive than Monday evening. The Tigers trailed by as many as seven runs before turning on the hottest offensive jets on their way to a 21-11 victory against Peotone.
“I’m glad we settled down as the game went on, and we played like we were capable,” Tigers coach Mike Cann said. “I’m actually very pleased with my team and every facet of the game today.”
Herscher quickly found itself in a 10-3 hole heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. The Blue Devils took advantage of multiple defensive errors by the Tigers in tough, windy conditions, which led Peotone to score in each of the first four innings. Their biggest inning came in the second, when they scored four runs on RBI groundouts by Jade Cadieux and Emma Herder, a fielder’s choice by Mady Kibelkis and an error on a ball put in play by Emma Spagnoli.
With all the momentum on Peotone’s side, Herscher knew it needed a big play to begin its turnaround.
That play came when Alison Hassett smacked a grand slam with one out in the fourth to drive in Haley Wagner, Rylie Hartman and Mia Ruder to put the Tigers within three, trailing 10-7.
“My approach was just to attack the first pitch and to try to hit line drives,” Hassett said. “I wasn’t thinking about hitting a home run, but the pitch was right down the middle, and the wind just took it.”
Although the four-run bomb didn’t give the Tigers the lead, it did give them the spark they needed to keep pushing while also ending Peotone’s confidence.
“It’s a grand slam; that’s huge for anybody,” Blue Devils coach Lexi Bryant said. “That play completely changed the momentum around into Herscher’s favor. It got them up and us down.”
The slam kick-started a scoring affair like no other in the next inning. After Herscher’s starting pitcher Colby McDivitt held Peotone to zero runs after the Tigers’ four-run fourth inning, Herscher then followed things up with an eight-run inning in the fifth, which was sparked by a Hartman three-run homer. She absolutely crushed a bomb to dead centerfield to give the Tigers their first lead of the game at 11-10.
Herscher’s big inning didn’t stop there as the Tigers added four more runs in the inning, which were predominately led by RBI singles from Hassett and Madison Dundas.
The Tigers newfound confidence allowed them to finish things off by outscoring the Blue Devils 6-1 in the sixth to complete the 10-run rule come back. The Tigers totaled 16 hits in the high-scoring affair, with 14 of them coming with runners in scoring position.
“I’ll take batting .700 with runner’s in scoring position any game,” Cann said. “I’m glad we capitalized and took advantage of situational hitting, and I hope that continues.”
Hassett led the Tigers’ offensive attack with a 4-for-5 performance and five RBIs. Mia Ruder also chipped in four hits with a homer to go with three runs scored and an RBI. Rylie Hartman hit an inside-the-park home run.
Mackenzie Strough and Emma Herder led the Blue Devils with two hits each. Herder added a team-high three RBIs off a three-run shot in the first inning. Alyssa Pasch also added a homer.
Herscher will look to make it two in a row against Peotone at 4:30 p.m. today on the road.