Pontiac wins conference title

    Emma Jacobs smacked a double that got Pontiac on the board in the third inning. Kailey Brinkman followed with a two-run homer and the Indians were not headed the rest of the way in a 10-2 win over rival Prairie Central.
    More importantly, the win gives the Tribe a share of the final Corn Belt Conference softball championship with a 10-2 league mark. Pontiac will enter postseason with a 23-9 record. Prairie Central falls to 7-19 on the season.
    “The girls were ready to play,” PTHS head coach Nicole Ropp said.
    After going through two scoreless innings, the Indians finally got to PC starter Katelyn Steidinger in the third. Madisyn Webster started things off with a single.
    Jacobs came up one out later and drilled a double to the right of center and Webster sped all the way around for the game’s first tally. Brinkman followed by clobbering one against the wind over the fence in left-center, making it 3-0.
    Amanda Fox followed with a double, Regan Krause singled and Jordan Weber singled to right to bring in Fox with the fourth run of the inning.
    “We began the game hitting the ball hard and making their defense work,” Ropp said. “PC shifted their defense a lot to our hitters and we were able to put the ball in open gaps.”
    Once the Indians got on the board, there was virtually no stopping them. Pontiac put up two runs in the fourth inning, two more in the fifth — on a single from Weber — and single tallies in the sixth and seventh frames.
    Krause got the start for Pontiac and lasted three innings, allowing no runs, no hits and three walks while striking out three. Fox threw the last four frames, allowing two runs in the seventh, four hits and two walks to go with four Ks.
    Steidinger went four innings for the Hawks, giving up six runs (four earned) on 10 hits. She struck out two. Allison Cagley allowed three runs in two innings on five hits and a walk. Brianna Seeman gave up an unearned run on two hits in her inning in the circle.
    “It was nice to finish the regular season on a lot of positive notes — beating our rival, hitting the ball hard and extremely well, and, of course, winning the Corn Belt Conference,” Ropp said.
    Krause had three hits while Weber had two hits and drove in three runs for the Tribe. Brinkman had a homer, single and two RBIs and Jacobs had a double, single and drove in two runs. Fox and Charlotte Somodi each had ad ouble and single while Webster and Sydney Barnett also had two hits apiece.
    Cagley had a pair of hits and run batted in for the Hawks. Faith Bachtold also had two hits.
    “We are right where we want to be going into regionals next week,” Ropp said. “The girls have a lot to be proud of for the regular season, but they know our season is not over yet.”
    Regional play for the Indians begins next Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m. Game against (Peoria) Notre Dame at the Class 3A PND Regional. Prairie Central will travel to Morton for a first-round game against the Potters in the East Peoria Regional.