The Pekin baseball and softball teams each began the post-season Tuesday with a dominating victory on their home diamond.
Bryson Swift threw a four-hit shutout and the baseball team blanked East Moline United Township 9-0 at Harry Anderson Field. Lexi Juergens threw a two-hit shutout and the softball team defeated Danville 7-0.
Each win came in a regional play-in game and sent Pekin to the regional semifinals.
The Pekin baseball team (12-13) faced Normal West (21-14) Wednesday in the Normal Community Class 4A Regional. The Pekin softball team (8-13) took on Normal Community (19-7) on Wednesday in the Normal West Class 4A regional.
A five-run burst in the second inning gave Swift a 6-0 lead against United Township (4-26), a team that impressed Pekin coach Larry Davis despite its record.
“United Township isn’t a four-win team. They don’t look the part,” he said. “They can swing the bat and their starting pitcher threw the ball well (Tuesday), but he lost his control in the second inning and gave up five walks.
“Bryson pitched well and we played a good ballgame. We earned the win.”
Swift struck out eight and walked only one.
Cole Russell and Evan Pogioli combined for six of Pekin’s nine hits, with each getting three. Russell had a double and two RBIs and Pogioli had three RBI singles.
Pekin and Normal West met for the second time this season Wednesday. The Dragons won 4-2 on March 20 in their opener.
Pekin softball coach Skip Penning was thrilled about his team’s performance against Danville (8-16).
“For the first time this season, we put defense, pitching and hitting together,” he said. “We handled everything defensively. We made plays we normally don’t make.”
The timing of a well-played game couldn’t have been better. Or more appropriate, Penning said.
“Our girls know their backs are to the wall. This is the one-and-done time of the season,” he said. “They did what they had to do.”
The Dragons went into their one-and-done game Wednesday knowing they probably had to face Normal Community pitching star Mackenzie Leonard, an Illinois State recruit.
Pekin’s Grace Wyman, Noelle Bowling and Riley Carroll each had two hits against Danville. Carroll drove in two runs.
Molly Flannigan stole home and Hannah McDonald had an RBI triple as the Dragons scored five runs in the bottom of the third.
Juergens helped her cause at the plate with an RBI double in the first that scored the first run of the game.
Steve Stein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.