No match for Morgan
WESTVILLE — The task for Westville was a tall one, and Blackhawks softball coach Mark Dineen knew it.
“We got lucky and drew Morgan,” Dineen joked of his team’s opponent in the Class A Westville Sectional on Wednesday.
Facing the second-ranked Cherokees, who blasted the Blackhawks 14-0 just a few weeks ago, Dineen was realistic about his team’s chances.
“I just told them, one, we don’t want to get shut out,” Dineen said. “The next goal would have been to not get dimed.”
The Blackhawks (5-14) accomplished one goal, but fell a few hits short of the other, falling 15-2 in five innings to Morgan Township.
“There weren’t any tears. They knew it was coming,” Dineen said. “I’m hoping in the future the expectations will be there. We’re a very, very young team. We’ve got four freshmen, two young ladies who’ve never played before. I think they were nervous in the very beginning. We just wanted them from the beginning of the season to the end of the season to progress and they did. I just want them to be proud of what they’re doing.”
Morgan took control immediately, plating six runs in the first and second innings.
“That’s a very good hitting team,” Dineen said. “Both of my pitchers (Melanie Markos and Jesse Dineen) are sophomores. They’ve got a ways to go. It’s just tough. I love to watch my daughter play. She’s my youngest. She knows she’s got me right here (the heart).”
The younger Dineen pitched reasonably well in her two innings, allowing three runs (one earned) and striking out four. Defense was a problem for the Blackhawks, who committed five errors and failed to come up with some makeable plays.
“We didn’t get 11 games in,” Dineen said, referring to the wet weather that had the Blackhawks busy with the rakes Wednesday to get the field in playable condition. “Last Wednesday was our first practice outside in two weeks. We quit practicing inside because they were getting too used to the ‘Softie’ balls, the flat surfaces.”
Westville scored in the second on catcher’s interference and Kilee Miller singled in Peyton Rodgers after Rodgers notched the Blackhawks’ first hit in the fourth. Markos singled to start the fifth, but after an error, the rally — and the game — ended there.
“This is a good team. They root for each other. They get along really well, which is unique,” Dineen said. “The new groups coming in now just don’t have the knowledge. They understand they have to get better. They have to set goals for next year. In a couple weeks, we’ll have some open field, hit around. Maybe we can make up for the practices we didn’t get outside. They have to really dedicate themselves to it.”
Unlike Morgan (19-4) and many other schools Westville plays, it just doesn’t have the travel ball participation needed to raise the competitive bar.
“We have about three or four,” Dineen said. “Most go to Rec Ball. Half of them are probably playing basketball. There’s a lot of potential out there. It’s good to see the younger ones take charge. There are leaders on the team. It’s up to them what they want to do. We’ll get them in some tournaments, do a little extra. Maybe they want to go to volleyball, go to basketball. As long as they want to have fun, that’s what it’s all about. I just want them to enjoy themselves.”
Class A Westville Sectional
Morgan Township 15, Westville 2 (5 innings)
Kilee Miller had the Blackhawks’ sole RBI.