Softball: Beecher starts strong but settles for fourth place with loss to Monticello
By Bill Harrison For Sun-Times Media June 7, 2014 7:46PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 6:37AM
EAST PEORIA, Ill. — It was an appropriate start to the Class 2A third-place game for the two players who have done the most statistically for Beecher.
The ending? Not so much.
Senior pitcher Sarah Crews and freshman third baseman Taylor Johnson ignited the Bobcats early but a six-run third by Monticello made the difference in a 6-1 final.
They didn’t win the state title, but fourth place in the state isn’t too shabby for Bobcats (33-9), who started six underclassman.
“It was a great run throughout the season and the kids did a great job of improving,” Beecher coach Kevin Hayhurst said. “We ran into some tough competition so I take my hat off to that.
“It was great experience for the young kids and the future is bright.”
Johnson got the visiting Bobcats on the board with a home run to right-center in her first at-bat. She ended one of the most dominant seasons by a freshman in state history by going 2-for-2 with a walk. She finished with 18 home runs and has a legitimate shot at the IHSA career home-run mark of 54 set by Cierra Hutchinson of Johnson City (2009-12).
“I’ll try,” she said with a smile about going after the record. “It’s been a crazy season, but we still played through until the end. It was good times.”
Hayhurst coached in his seventh appearance downstate, including three as an assistant to Gary Lagesse at Thornwood, winning three state titles (1990, 1991, 1998). He won state titles for Beecher in 2004 and 2007, the latter with Lagesse’s daughter Alex.
His overall record as a head coach is 354-65.
The Bobcats lose senior starters in Crews, shortstop Isabella Woolslayer and second baseman Savannah Lowe. They’ll return seven starters, with several talented underclassmen who played sparingly but are primed to contribute next year.
Crews (23-5) doubled her first at-bat and retired seven of the first eight hitters before the Sages (31-5) exploded for six runs and five hits in the third inning. The big blows were a pair of two-run homers by Allie Hislope and Megan Magsamen. Pitcher Chrissy Gadbury (26-5) added a two-run single. Sam Valentin went 4-for-4.
“I think we did good the entire season,” Crews said. “I don’t think our best was reflected [at state] of what we did all season.”