The Pekin girls soccer team made the most of Senior Day on Tuesday at Coal Miners Park.
In addition to honoring the seven seniors on the roster, the Dragons defeated Limestone 3-0 and clinched third place in the Mid-Illini Conference.
“Sure, we wanted to beat Dunlap and Morton, but third place is a solid finish considering the talent we lost from last year and it’s something we can build on for next year,” said Pekin coach Edgar Sandoval.
Dunlap won the Mid-Illini championship. Morton finished in second place. They handed the defending champion Dragons their lone conference losses.
Pekin (12-7, 5-2) scored all its goals against Limestone (8-10-1, 1-6) in the second half of the Dragons’ regular-season and conference finale.
Tyranie Cox scored twice after Morgan Haynes broke the ice at 55:47. Cox, Haynes and Allie Scally each had an assist and goalie Paige Smith posted the shutout.
There are seven seniors on Pekin’s roster including longtime starters Maddy Cash, Diana Beecham and Tayler Scally. Beecham is headed to Illinois Central College to play soccer.
The other Pekin seniors are Rachel Bresnahan, Gina Olsen, Chloe Jacobs and Emily Stewart.
Pekin is off until it faces Joliet West at 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday in a Class 3A regional semifinal game. The Dragons are the regional hosts.
SOFTBALL: No errors. That’s what it said on the Pekin softball team’s line score.
“That’s the first time all year we didn’t commit an error in a game,” Pekin coach Skip Penning said Tuesday after the Dragons defeated Morton 9-4 in a Mid-Illini Conference contest.
“That was a big deal, and so was our pitcher (Lexi Juergens) striking out 10 batters,” Penning said. “This was one of our better games all year. We played seven good innings.”
Getting clutch hits has been a problem this season for the Dragons (7-9, 4-6), but they had plenty of them against Morton (1-21, 0-11).
Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Pekin scored five runs with two out.
A double by Hannah McDonald drove in two runs and broke the tie. After a walk to Hallie Stoller, Grace Wyman knocked in a run with a double and Juergens brought home two more runs with a triple.
Pekin had 11 hits. Riley Carroll and Peyton Brandau each had two of them.
Brandau knocked in Pekin’s first three runs.
Down 3-0, the Dragons closed to within 3-1 in the second on an RBI single by Brandau. With Pekin behind 4-1, Brandau knocked in two runs with a fourth-inning single.
Brandau was in the game replacing Erin Flairty, who is sidelined with a concussion after being hit in the head by a pitch Monday in Pekin’s win over Dunlap.
The Dragons are also without Noelle Bowling, also out with a concussion after she was hit in the face when she lost a ball in the sun in an April 24 game against Limestone.
“Erin and Noelle normally are the No. 1 and No. 3 hitters in our lineup,” Penning said. “We hope to have Noelle back this weekend. Erin is out until at least next week.”
Pekin will play at Mid-Illini champion Washington at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and travel to Galesburg on Saturday for a non-conference doubleheader.
The Dragons have started their long week with wins over conference foes Dunlap and Morton.
Last Friday, instead of practicing, the Dragons played kickball and had a pizza party. Getting away from softball for a day seems to have halted the team’s slump.
“That day was a great stress-reliever,” Penning said.
Steve Stein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.