Senior center fielder, St. Joseph-Ogden
OLIVET — Elizabeth Everingham always had a clear vision of her field of dreams.
They were present when she went to bed, and they were within view when she awoke. Everingham didn't need to close her eyes to picture it. The softball field was her backyard prior to the days she enrolled in high school at St. Joseph-Ogden.
EAST PEORIA — The game wasn't the one St. Joseph-Ogden wanted to play, but the outcome was just fine.
"We wanted to be in the championship game, but this was like our championship game," senior Stephanie Canfield said, "and I wanted to win our last game."
EAST PEORIA — The smiles were forced, not genuine.
The outcome, for the second day in a row, was not what Tuscola High School's softball team wanted.
And yet, in the minutes after a 4-1 loss to Milledgeville in the Class 1A third-place game at EastSide Centre on Saturday, seniors started to realize the magnitude of their season's accomplishments.
EAST PEORIA — Today is unlike any since March 13 for St. Joseph-Ogden.
For the first time, the softball Spartans will take the field following a loss.
The state's top-ranked Class 2A team stumbled in Friday's sectional semifinals against Nashville, 5-2. SJ-O catcher Mickaela Fleming and center fielder Stephanie Canfield expect the Spartans to rebound quickly.
EAST PEORIA — Caught looking.
Some would say St. Joseph-Ogden's unbeaten and top-ranked softball team was looking ahead.
Whether that speculation is accurate, there's no doubt the Spartans spent too much time looking at the pitches thrown by Nashville freshman Maci Ingram.
EAST PEORIA — Kelsey Cleland would like a replay. The Tuscola infielder would welcome a softball rematch with Payson Seymour.
Instead, Cleland and the Warriors will return to action today against Milledgeville in the third-place game at the Class 1A tournament.
EAST PEORIA — Gone.
The ball. The dream. Tuscola's state championship aspirations in softball.
Still remaining for the Warriors: a chance to close out their season with a win and collect the all-time school record for wins in a season.
Tuscola softball during their Class 1A semi-final game vs. Payson-Seymour at EastSide Centre in Peoria Friday, June 1, 2012.
St. Joseph-Ogden softball during their Class 2A semi-final game vs. Nashville at EastSide Centre in Peoria on Friday, June 1, 2012.