October 28, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Immke, host of others help SJO softball pile up the wins in May

The last three weeks have seen the St. Joseph-Ogden softball team play a whole bunch of games — 15 to be exact.
And stack up a whole bunch of wins — 13 to be exact.
The Spartans carry a superb 22-6 record, including a 10-2 mark in Illini Prairie Conference play, heading into Wednesday’s 4:30 p.m. home nonconference game against Teutopolis.
Here’s a look at what’s happened for SJO, with a look at what’s ahead as the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason is fast approaching.

WHAT’S HAPPENED
SJO 13, Prairie Central 11 (May 25)
The visiting Spartans overcame four errors and a 6-1 deficit after four innings to post the come-from-behind Illini Prairie win in Fairbury.
Sophomore Shayne Immke went 3 for 5 with three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases out of the leadoff spot to lead SJO. Freshman Addy Martinie was also a force at the plate, going 2 for 4 with three RBI and two runs scored, while fellow freshman Addison Frick (3 for 4, four runs scored) was a standout on the base paths with seven stolen bases.
Senior Kaylee Ward (2 for 3, two RBI, two runs scored) and junior Kennedy Hudson (2 for 4, two RBI) also contributed multi-hit games.
Senior Sophia Martlage picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle, lasting four innings and scattering eight hits, with only one of her six runs allowed earned. Sophomore Alyssa Acton threw three innings of relief, giving up five hits. Two of the five runs she allowed were earned.

Pontiac 5, SJO 2 (May 24)
The Spartans saw their 12-game win streak end with a road loss in Illini Prairie action.
SJO took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI double from Acton, but trailed 3-1 after two innings and could never regain the lead.
Acton’s double was the only extra-base hit for SJO, with Peyton Jones (1 for 3, run scored) and Addison Frick (1 for 3, run scored, two stolen bases) also contributing.
Sophomore Maggie Ward threw all six innings for the Spartans, taking the loss after giving up five runs (three earned) on eight hits. She struck out two and walked two.

SJO 13, Westville 2 (May 21)
The visiting Spartans led 5-1 after two innings, tacked on to their lead with a run apiece in the fourth and fifth and closed out the nonconference win in six innings thanks to a six-run sixth.
Immke shined for SJO, going 4 for 4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored. Sophomore Peyton Jones (2 for 2, three runs scored, two RBI) and Martinie (2 for 3, three RBI, two runs scored) also hit two home runs, with Maggie Ward (2 for 3, RBI) adding a solo home run as the Spartans finished with a whopping seven home runs in the win.
Maggie Ward delivered the win, throwing five innings and scattering eight hits. She struck out five and only walked one before Martlage threw one inning of hitless relief.

SJO 11, Pontiac 4 (May 20)
The host Spartans struck early, scoring four runs in the first inning before tagging Pontiac for three more runs in both the second and the third to take a convincing 10-0 lead after three innings of an eventual Illini Prairie win.
Junior Kelsey Martlage hit a home run and finished with four RBI to spark SJO, with Immke (3 for 4, RBI, three runs scored) and Jones (2 for 3, two RBI, two runs scored) setting the tone near the top of the order.
Acton, Maggie Ward and Sophia Martlage combined to keep Pontiac stifled. Acton allowed one run on three hits to go along with four strikeouts and one walk in three innings, picking up the win. Maggie Ward threw three innings, giving up four hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out three.

SJO 13, Mt. Zion 3 (May 19)
SJO never trailed, capping the six-inning nonconference home win by plating five runs in the second inning and six more in the sixth.
Immke went 4 for 4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored to highlight a 16-hit performance by SJO.
Martinie (2 for 3, two RBI), Hudson (2 for 4, RBI) and Acton (2 for 4, two RBI) also hit home runs for the Spartans.
Senior Audrey Short (2 for 3, RBI, two runs scored) and Kelsey Martlage (2 for 4, two RBI) chipped in as well.
That was plenty of run support for Maggie Ward, who only allowed two hits in five innings of work to pick up the win. She struck out four and walked one.

SJO 11, Unity 9 (May 17)
The visiting Spartans rallied from an early deficit and managed to hold on for the Illini Prairie win despite making four errors.
Trailing 7-1 after two innings, SJO slowly chipped its way back into the game with a run in the third and four more in the fourth, but Unity added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to lead 9-6.
The Spartans, however, weren’t deterred, scoring once in the fifth and four more runs in the sixth to pull off the come-from-behind win against their rival.
Immke delivered the big blow, hitting a grand slam in the fourth to trim SJO’s deficit to 7-6. She finished 4 for 4 with five RBI, four runs scored and also had a solo home run.
Kaylee Ward (2 for 3, two RBI) also hit a home run to help in the comeback.
Maggie Ward picked up the win, throwing 5 1/3 innings of relief. She walked four and gave up five hits, but both runs she allowed were unearned and she struck out two.

SJO 12, Bloomington Central Catholic 7 (May 13)
SJO broke a 7-7 tie after six innings with a five-run output in the top of the seventh to claim the road Illini Prairie win.
Immke fell a home run shy of hitting for the cycle, going 3 for 5 with four RBI and three runs scored. Short (1 for 2, three runs scored, RBI), Acton (2 for 4), Kelsey Martlage (1 for 5, RBI), Frick (1 for 4, two runs scored, RBI, two stolen bases) and Martinie (1 for 4, RBI) also had timely hits.
Acton threw a complete game, giving up all seven runs (five earned) on 12 hits. She walked three and struck out one.

SJO 13, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 3 (May 12)
SJO scored at least two runs in four innings as the Spartans cruised to a nonconference road win.
Acton (2 for 5, four RBI) and Immke (3 for 5, four runs scored, three RBI) both hit home runs, while Immke added a triple.
Kaylee Ward (2 for 5, RBI) doubled twice for both of her hits, while Kelsey Martlage (2 for 4, RBI) and Maggie Ward (2 for 5) also had multi-hit games.
Maggie Ward struck out eight and threw a complete game, yielding eight hits but not issuing a walk.

SJO 5, Bloomington Central Catholic 2 (May 11)
The Spartans trailed 2-0 after the first inning, but used a three-run third inning to take a 3-2 lead and then tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth to post a home Illini Prairie win.
Kaylee Ward’s two-run home run in the third put the Spartans ahead 3-2 before Immke hit a two-run home run of her own in the sixth.
Acton had the lone multi-hit game for the Spartans, going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.
Sophia Martlage did not give up an earned run in throwing a complete game, working around two walks and scattering seven hits to earn the win.

SJO 17, Rantoul 10 (May 10)
Offense was not in short supply for either team, with the Spartans having just a bit more to claim the home Illini Prairie win.
Maggie Ward shined at the plate for SJO, going 3 for 5 with four RBI, while Immke went 3 for 4 with three RBI and fell just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
Acton (2 for 3, two RBI), Sophia Martlage (1 for 2, two RBI) and Short (two RBI) also contributed as SJO stole 10 bases. Hudson led the way with three stolen bases, with Frick and Kelsey Martlage each adding two stolen bases.
SJO took a 6-2 lead in the second with a six-run inning before the Spartans found themselves trailing 7-6 after the top of the third. That deficit was short-lived, however, with the Spartans leading 10-7 after three innings before adding a single run in the fourth, two more in the fifth and four more in the sixth.

SJO 15, Meridian 9 (May 8)
The solid offensive showing continued as SJO collected its second nonconference home win on this particular Saturday against Meridian.
SJO only held a slim 9-8 lead after four innings before breaking the game open with a six-run fifth inning.
Martinie went 2 for 3 with a home run and four RBI, while Maggie Ward also went 2 for 3 with four RBI, including a double.
Immke (4 for 5, three RBI) hit two doubles, while Acton (2 for 4, RBI), Kaylee Ward (2 for 4, RBI) and Kelsey Martlage (2 for 5, RBI) also chipped in.

SJO 7, Salt Fork 6 (May 8)
SJO trailed 3-2 after 4 1/2 innings before grabbing the lead with a two-run fifth inning and a three-run sixth to hold off the Storm for a nonconference home win.
Hudson hit a home run and drove in two runs, while Martinie (2 for 3, RBI) and Immke (1 for 3, RBI) each contributed a double.
Acton pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits and only giving up three earned runs while striking out four.

SJO 9, Danville 5 (May 7)
Kelsey Martlage and Kaylee Ward led the way offensively for the visiting Spartans in a nonconference win.
Kelsey Martlage went 4 for 4 with a triple, an RBI and three runs scored, while Kaylee Ward was 3 for 3 with an RBI and a double.
Acton (1 for 3, two RBI) and Martinie (2 for 4, RBI) also had solid efforts at the plate. Maggie Ward threw a complete game, giving up seven hits and three earned runs while striking out three.

SJO 16, Rantoul 4 (May 6)
Big innings propelled the Spartans to a road Illini Prairie win.
SJO led 3-0 after the top of the first inning, but despite trailing 4-3 after three innings, rattled off a five-run fourth, a three-run fifth and a five-run sixth to pick up the six-inning win.
Rantoul committed seven errors, but SJO still compiled 13 hits.
Acton (3 for 4, two runs scored, four RBI) and Immke (2 for 4, three runs scored, three RBI) both hit home runs, while Kelsey Martlage (3 for 5, two RBI), Maggie Ward (2 for 3, two RBI) and Hudson (1 for 1, two RBI) both drove in multiple runs. The Spartans also stole 11 bases, with Immke, Short and Maggie Ward each swiping two bases apiece.

Maroa-Forsyth 5, SJO 4 (May 5)
SJO led 4-2 and only needed to secure three outs to leave Forsyth with a nonconference win, but the Spartans were unable to accomplish that in a nonconference defeat.
Maggie Ward (2 for 3, RBI) and Immke (2 for 4, RBI, two stolen bases) each had multi-hit games, while Martinie hit a solo home run.
Maggie Ward suffered the tough loss, throwing 6 1/3 innings and giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits to go along with one walk and one strikeout.

WHAT’S AHEAD
After Wednesday’s home game with Teutopolis, the Spartans still have six regular-season games left on the schedule before Class 2A postseason play is set to begin June 3.
SJO is slated to host Prairie Central at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday before welcoming in rival Unity at 4:30 p.m. on Friday in a rescheduled game in St. Joseph after the May 18 game between the two foes was rained out.
The Spartans will then travel to Tolono for two games on Saturday, taking on Pinckneyville at 11:30 a.m. and Seneca at 2:30 p.m.
Next week, SJO is slated to host Chillicothe IVC at 4:30 p.m. on May 31 before ending the regular season at Chillicothe IVC at 4:30 p.m.
The Spartans are then scheduled to open the postseason with a regional semifinal game at 4:30 p.m. on June 3 in St. Joseph. SJO, the second seed, will either play 10th-seeded Cerro Gordo/Bement or seventh-seeded Georgetown-Ridge Farm. Those two teams are set to meet at 4:30 p.m. on June 2 in a regional quarterfinal game.
Sixth-seeded Westville will play at third-seeded Unity at 4:30 p.m. on June 3 in the other regional semifinal game. The two regional semifinal winners will meet at 4:30 p.m. on Friday in a regional championship game.
All regional and sectional games will be hosted by the team with the better seed.
The Spartans are part of the Millikin Super-Sectional that is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on June 14 in Decatur, with the winner of the super-sectional advancing to the 2A state tournament on June 16 in Peoria.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state tournament will only take place during one day, with the two state semifinal games at 12:30 p.m., followed by the third-place game at 4 p.m. and the state championship game at 5 p.m.
The state tournament will take place this year at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria.

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