LITCHFIELD - Taylor Draeger did her part to give Litchfield a chance to advance in the Section 5AA tournament. And when Southwest Christian started to slip up, the Dragons were quick to take advantage.
Scoreless through four innings, fifth-seeded Litchfield put together a four-run fifth inning. Combined with a complete-game two-hitter from Draeger, the Dragons advanced with a 5-0 victory over the 12th-seeded Stars on Monday.
After giving up a double and a single to open the game, Draeger did not surrender another hit the rest of the way, including a stretch where she retired the last 10 batters in a row. She ended the day with six strikeouts and two walks.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jocie Larson led off with a single and Kristin Foley reached first on a dropped ball. But, the Stars were able to coax two straight outs while keeping Larson and Foley on base. The No. 3 batter, Emma DeWolf, hit a ball to center field but the fielder was unable to come down with the ball, allowing two runs to score.
After that gaffe, Avery Stiwell cracked a double and Katelyn Cruze had a two-run single that made it a 4-0 Litchfield lead. The Dragons added another run in the fifth on a two-out RBI triple from Janessa Olson, who finished the day 2-for-4.
On Tuesday, Litchfield will resume section play, traveling to Rockford to play the fourth-seeded Rockets, who advanced with a 16-1 win over 13th-seeded Providence Academy on Monday. Litchfield and Rockford split the season series, with the Dragons winning 11-4 back on April 8 and the Rockets taking the May 2 matchup, 6-5.
Litchfield 5, SW Christian 0
SW Christian 000 000 0-0 2 2
Litchfield 000 041 x-5 6 0
Hitting - Southwest Christian: Claire Larkin 1-2 2b sb, Ava Thiewes 1-3 ... Litchfield: Janessa Olson 2-4 3b rbi, Avery Stilwell 1-3 2b, Katelyn Cruze 1-3 rbi-2, Sydney McCann 1-2 r sb-2, Jocie Larson 1-3 r sb, Emma DeWolf 0-3 r, Kristin Foley 0-1 r sb, Alyssa Olson 0-1 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Southwest Christian: Ella Schmidt (L) 6-6-5-1-2-8 ... Litchfield: Taylor Draeger (W) 7-2-0-0-2-6