OLD FORT - Big time players like the big moments. In softball, it doesn't get bigger than tournament time.
In her first two years pitching for Fremont St. Joe, Be Reardon has had plenty of big moments helping her team to a pair of district titles. Saturday, she took another step toward a third.
The St. Joe hurler was instrumental in Saturday's 2-0 Division IV sectional final win over Old Fort. Reardon not only shut out the Stockaders, but produced what turned out to be the game-winning run, with a sac-fly in the fifth inning.
Fremont St. Joe’s Sarah Franks steals second, sliding in safely under the tag of Old Fort’s Michaela Davidson during Saturday’s sectional final.
Old Fort first baseman Allison?Adelsperger (1) gets out of the way of catcher Peyton?Miller as she makes a catch on a pop fly during Saturday’s sectional final against Fremont St. Joe.
"It's something I live for," Reardon said when asked how she elevates her game for the postseason. "I want to do good in the tournament. I want to make a run and that's what happens."
Reardon improves her career record to 8-0 in sectional and district play.
The names might change, but the results have remained the same. St. Joe has won three straight district titles overall, and Saturday's win has landed the Streaks back in the district semifinals.
"To me this is just our go-time," Reardon said. "This is what we're here to do, to do good in our tournaments. And that's what we've done the past three years. I think doing it the past two years and coming in my third year, I know we can do it."
St. Joe coach Pat Bastidas knows his team can do it to as long as Reardon is in the circle.
"I repeat myself a lot but this time I'm going to repeat myself for the 20th time. Where Be goes, we go," he said. "And she was great today and that's why we won the game."
The two teams met April 9 with Old Fort coming away with a 5-4, 10-inning victory. Bastidas said he expected another tough encounter with a sectional title on the line.
"We knew we were going to be in a fight," he said. "They're probably equal to us. I would say that the two teams are pretty even. If we were to play them 10 times it would probably be 5-5. This time we won and it was a big game for us."
For the first four innings, Old Fort pitcher Jordan Magers matched zeros on the scoreboard with Reardon. The difference, though, came in the fifth, and that difference was only a matter of a few steps.
St. Joe's Dani Baez led off her team's fifth with a blooper that Old Fort second baseman Cheyenne Halbeisen just missed making a play on. Baez took second of a ground out from Megan Mehalko, then moved to third on an infield hit from Sarah Franks, who just beat out the throw to first.
With the table set, Reardon came up to the plate, and came through. She hit a sac-fly to left, scoring Baez for what turned out to be the winning run.
Brigette Fulwider, though, provided some insurance. She launched a shot to the centerfield fence that just got passed the outstretched glove of Old Fort's Sammy Miller. Franks scored and the Streaks claimed a 2-0 lead.
Old Fort had its chances to answer. Miller led off Old Fort's half of the fifth with a base hit and her sister Peyton sacrificed her to second. Reardon, though, got a ground out to end the inning and keep the Stockaders off the board.
Again in the sixth Old Fort tried to mount a rally. Krista Ward and Hali Kimmet got base hits but Reardon again left them sitting on the bases at inning's end.
"Exactly what happened," Old Fort coach Sandy Adelsperger said when asked about her team not being able to get a big hit when needed. "We had some baserunners on a few times, just couldn't put the hit in play."
It wasn't just a late-inning occurrence either. In the first inning, after Reardon retired the first two batters, three straight hits loaded the bases. But a ground out to first prevented any damage.
Adelsperger said a run there would've changed the course of the entire game.
"There would've been a big difference in the game," she said. "But it is what it is. Can't change it, can't go back."
Reardon scattered eight hits over the seven innings. She struck out six and got a lot of help from her defense behind her.
"They played phenomenal today," Reardon said. "I'm so beyond proud of how our defense played today."
For Bastidas, it was a case of practice makes perfect.
"We've been practicing with the young girls on the one-hops, throws," he said. "I saw two big one-hops that went for outs. That was fantastic. When you can execute what you practice, it's big. And this was very big for us to see that defensively."
And things will just get bigger from here on out. St. Joe moves on to the district semifinals against Calvert, 5 p.m. Tuesday at Fremont Ross.