CRYSTAL LAKE – Prairie Ridge was down to its final out Monday afternoon against Belvidere North and looked like it would go down quietly in defeat.
The Wolves then strung together a two-out rally that concluded with a two-run walk off single by Amanda Doomis to give Prairie Ridge a 6-5 non-conference victory. It didn’t look like, from the beginning of the inning, that the host Wolves would have a chance to win.
Emily Doomis struck out and Claire Bowman grounded out to begin the inning. Sarah Rohloff singled to keep the game alive and Katie Didier’s groundball to second was booted by the Blue Thunder’s Brenna Rieches to put two runners on.
Michelle O’Keefe followed with an infield single to load the bases before Doomis smacked Bailey Neiber’s first pitch into left field to score Rohloff and Didier with the winning run. Doomis said that she noticed a pattern from Neiber that she took advantage of in the critical at-bat.
“Earlier in the game, I’d always taken the first pitch, so I knew the first pitch she was going to throw a strike down the middle because she knew I always looked at it,” Doomis said. “I knew the first pitch was the best one I was going to see, so I just wanted to hit it.”
Renee Santi got the win, pitching three innings of scoreless relief and Prairie Ridge coach Mike Buck said that Santi, along with O’Keefe, did great considering they were inexperienced in the pitching circle with normal starter Hailey Baker out for a few days.
“She did great but Michelle O’Keefe also did a great job because she came in with a tough situation because Hailey took a ball off her hand so neither one of them had much varsity experience,” Buck said. “They both did well and Renee was outstanding. She came in and threw strikes.”
Prairie Ridge (3-1) had scored three times in the first inning to support O’Keefe, who had a two-run single to help her own cause in the opening inning. Sammy Hempen doubled in O’Keefe with the third run of the inning.
Belvidere North scored twice in the top of the second though and added three runs in the fifth inning which chased O’Keefe from the game and gave the Blue Thunder a 5-3 lead. The Wolves responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by Rohloff to score Bowman which pulled Prairie Ridge within 5-4 going into the seventh to set up the late game heroics.