Final: East Peoria 11, Pekin 4

Summary: The East Peoria softball team took care of business, beating Pekin 11-4 in a contest it never trailed in. The Raiders jumped on the Dragons’ in the first inning, scoring two runs behind an RBI double by Madi Bambrick and RBI single by Alyssa Graves. The Dragons came back with two runs in the bottom of the third inning behind Abbigail Worlow’s towering two-run home run to left-center field. The Raiders broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the fifth, scoring six runs, including the go-ahead two-run home run by Remi Ferguson. Bambrick hit a home run in back-to-back fashion to add on the lead.

“They were both making adjustments at the plate, so it was only a matter of time that they would come through,” East Peoria head coach Denee Menzione said. “They both kind of sat back and hit two good pitches and put us back in that lead.”

The Raiders tacked on three more in the seventh, and the Dragons scored two in the bottom half before the game ended. Bambrick went 5-for-5 with a double to go with her home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. Worlow finished 1-for-4 for the Dragons and Lexi Mercer scored two runs.

Worlow’s first: Worlow launched her first home run of the season. She sits behind Bailey Tibbetts for team lead in hits and home runs.

Quote: “Our pitchers let their middle of the order dictate,” Pekin head coach Gigi MacIntosh said. “The bright spot obviously was Worlow’s home run to tie it and scoring two in the bottom of the seventh inning shows we didn’t give up.”

Another one: East Peoria won its fifth-straight game since its first Mid-Illini Conference loss of the season to Washington. The Raiders have lost four games all season. “The girls just kind of go out day-by-day and attack and try to play their best,” Menzione said. “We got a lot of big games between now and (regionals), so we just kind of look forward to the next game.”

Batters eye: The Raiders totaled 20 hits for the game, including 15 from the top five hitters in Thursday’s starting lineup. Ashley Emert went 3-for-5, Kat Smith went 2-for-5, Ferguson went 2-for-5 and Alyssa Graves went 3-for-4. “Our order, I think, one through nine, is pretty scary. Its stringing hits together and I think one through five is feeling some confidence, which is huge for us," Menzione said.

Biscuits and Gravy: Graves pitched another quality start for East Peoria. The Butler recruit pitched five innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out five. She’s allowed 12 hits combined in her last three starts for the Raiders.

Streaking at the wrong time: Pekin has now dropped it’s last six games with four games remaining in the regular season. Five out of the six losses are to Mid-Illini opponents. The Dragon’s lone conference win was at Morton on April 14.

Records: Pekin 11-12, 1-9; East Peoria 18-4, 9-1

Next game: Pekin hosts Bloomington for its final double-header of the regular season starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday. East Peoria travels to Canton next Tuesday.