GENESEO — Two senior left-handers went pitch-for-pitch during the IHSA 3A Regional Semifinals on Wednesday, when Rochelle’s Bella Lodico and Geneseo’s Anna Narup combined to hold each of their respective opponents scoreless through the first three innings of play.
But the deciding moment came in the bottom of the fourth inning, where Narup stepped into the batter’s box with two outs looking to help her own cause. Trailing 1-2 in the count, Narup delivered a two-run single that put Geneseo ahead 2-0. Lodico ultimately escaped the jam, but the deficit was too much for the sixth-seeded Lady Hubs, who managed only three hits against Narup in a 2-0 loss to the third-seeded Maple Leafs. Rochelle finished the season 6-11 overall.
“I thought the girls fought really hard and they didn’t settle for anything,” head coach Lindsay Suess said. “I thought we played our best defense of the season and Bella pitched a great game. Jordin [Dickey] and MeLisa [Young] were great up the middle on defense. Bella shut down a really strong offense that scored a lot of runs in recent games. She finished her career on a high note and she’s meant so much to our program over the last four years.”
Narup was on cruise control early in the regional matchup, striking out six of her 11 batters in the first three innings and holding the Lady Hubs without a hit until the top of the fifth inning, when Rochelle sophomore Addie Friestad ended Narup’s perfect game bid with a double. Sophomore Morgan Smardo and Lodico then hit back-to-back singles in the top of the sixth inning before stealing second and third base to give the Lady Hubs their best chance to score.
But Narup’s 10th strikeout of the evening ended Rochelle’s potential rally. The Lady Hubs then went down in order during the top of the seventh inning to seal Geneseo’s victory.
“Their pitcher moved the ball around the strike zone really well and we haven’t seen a lot of left-handed pitchers this season,” Suess said. “She had a dominant curveball against our right-handed hitters that we struggled with. We made some adjustments late in the game and we were able to put the ball in play. I thought we proved that we can compete with anybody, even if we don’t have the best record entering the postseason. We’re capable of making noise.”