GENEVA – Both the skies and the scoreboard looked ominous for the Geneva softball team as the Vikings started their at-bat in the top of the seventh in Tuesday’s IHSA Class 4A regional semifinal.
Geneva trailed Waubonsie Valley, 6-4, and lightning accompanied by a thunderstorm suspended play for a second time.
By the time the storm had passed, officials decided the field was unplayable and the game was called, giving Waubonsie the victory.
"I can’t think of a worse way to lose, to be honest with you,” Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. “It’s a rough way to go but it’s the rules so you have to live by it.”
“It definitely was a strange way to end the game,” Waubonsie coach Valerie Wood said.
Geneva, which was the visiting team due to its 11th seed in the Oswego Sectional, appeared to be on the verge of scoring more runs when McKenna Schimmel led off the seventh inning with a double. But with a 1-1 count on Sarah Baurer, the next batter, play was stopped.
“I told the girls the thing that was the most frustrating was that I thought we had two runs in us and I thought we were going to have a chance to get back on the field again,” Dierks said. “The girls were very disappointed when I told them that we were done.”
The Vikings (21-13) have shown the ability to rally late in games this season.
“We had a runner on second and nobody out so we could have definitely come back and scored at least two runs to tie it,” senior Jenelle Reilly said. “It’s a hard way to end the season and my high school career.”
Waubonsie, seeded fifth in the sectional, plated three runs in bottom of the first to take a 3-0 lead.
Geneva shortstop Anna Geary’s two-run home run in the third closed the gap to 3-2. The junior’s homer, which bounced off the left field foul pole, was her third of the year.
“I heard it but I didn’t see it,” Geary said of her home run. “It gave us a boost into the next inning and we started playing with more confidence after that.”
The Warriors (27-7) added a run in the fourth on starting pitcher Shannon Hohman’s solo home run.
Momentum seemed to swing Geneva’s way after the first lightning delay in the bottom of the fifth.
The Warriors loaded the bases with no outs on relief pitcher Emily Plocinski on a walk and two singles. The junior, who came on in relief of starting pitcher Rachel Fanella in the second, got out of the inning without Waubonsie scoring a run on a force out, strikeout and a groundout.
In the top of the sixth, Geneva tied the game 4-4 on freshman Annika Radabaugh's two-run homer to center, her program-record 11th of the season.
Waubonsie reclaimed the lead, 6-4, in its half of the seventh with two runs that proved to be the difference.
“It’s a hard way to go down considering we put up a good fight,” Geary said. “It’s hard we didn’t get to finish the game out.” .