Dunlap and Morton are the gold standard in Mid-Illini Conference girls soccer this spring. So finishing in third place in the conference wouldn’t be disappointing.
Pekin took a step toward that accomplishment Tuesday with a 3-0 win over visiting Washington at Coal Miners Park.
Tyranie Cox scored at 14:55 from Tayler Scally and the Dragons (9-4, 3-2) kept that slim lead until the game’s final seven minutes.
Alex Bassen scored twice in 34 seconds (73:12 and 73:46) to give Pekin plenty of insurance.
Bassen’s first goal was unassisted and the second came on a penalty kick after Cox was hauled down in the penalty area.
“Tyranie had her legs taken right out from under her. There was no play on the ball,” said Pekin coach Edgar Sandoval.
Aside from that foul, Sandoval had plenty of praise for Washington (8-7, 2-2).
“They’re a young team with good players who battle. They start five freshmen,” he said. “When their young players start playing with consistency, they’re going to be a scary team.”
Pekin goalie Paige Smith made six saves against Washington in recording the shutout. Defenders Diana Beecham, McKenzie Cupi, Alex Lane, Allie Scally and Megan Nelson were strong in front of Smith.
“Paige and our defenders were dialed in,” Sandoval said. “It was a strong defensive effort.”
There was some sad news Tuesday for Pekin. Junior Natalie Johnson, who was slowly rounding into shape after suffering a torn ACL last year, learned she tore the ACL in her other knee Saturday against Washington in a Dragon Invitational game.
“Natalie was running, planted, and the knee buckled. She heard a pop and knew what that meant,” Sandoval said.
Pekin will compete this weekend in the Tournament of Champions in Burlington, Iowa. The Dragons will face undefeated Waunakee (Wis.) at 3:15 p.m. Friday.
BOYS TRACK AND FIELD: Pekin boys track and field coach Eric McCann saw a lot to like Tuesday when the Dragons competed against visiting Metamora and East Peoria in a Mid-Illini Conference meet at Memorial Stadium.
“Our sprint relays (4x100 and 4x200) ran their season bests and nearly everyone on our team set personal-records,” McCann said. “We had a freshman pole vaulter (Drake Hawkins) go 11-6 and our distance crew ran very well, as they have the last couple weeks.”
Pekin won the 4x100 (:43.8) and 4x200 (1:32.5) Tuesday with Riley Hall, Devin Tovrea, Dylan Christopherson and Ethan Hall.
Other Dragons wins came from Kolton Dunkelbarger in the 3200 (10:03.8), Ethan Hall in the 100 (:11.2) and Seth Kasinger in the 800 (2:04.2).
Metamora won the meet with 98 points. Pekin had 79 and East Peoria had 10.
The Dragon Invitational will be Friday at Memorial Stadium.
GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD: Led by multiple event winners Hope Watts and Gabi Salazar, Pekin finished second among three teams Tuesday in a Mid-Illini Conference girls track and field meet at Metamora.
Watts won the 100 (:13.35), 200 (:27.23) and 400 (1:03.73) and Salazar was first in the shot put (34 feet, 4.5 inches) and discus (106-1.5).
Pekin also won two relays.
Paige Arseneau, Braelyn Oberle, Olivia Evans and Lily Wagemann won the 4x800 (10:44.78) and Evans, Sierra Jones, Hayes and Watts won the 4x400 (4:34.8).
“We had many personal records in the wonderful weather,” said Pekin coach Christina MacEwan.
Metamora won the meet with 89 points. Pekin had 64 and East Peoria had 33.
Pekin finished second of seven teams Friday in the Lady Rockets Invitational at Limestone.
Champion Galesburg scored 168.33 points. The Dragons were second with 115.33 followed by Peoria Richwoods (108), Limestone (105), Fairbury Prairie Central (66.33), Decatur MacArthur (55.5) and Peoria Manual (23.5).
The Dragons won three events and Watts won two of them. She was first across the finish line in the 200 (:27.36) and 400 (1:02.30). Wagemann won the 800 (2:32).
“We had a great night at Limestone. Great weather and a great meet,” MacEwan said.
BASEBALL: Morton took out its frustrations on Pekin on Monday after losing back-to-back Mid-Illini Conference baseball games to Metamora and Dunlap.
The Potters beat the visiting Dragons 13-0 at Westwood Park in a game that lasted only 4 1/2 innings because of the run rule.
Morton was efficient offensively, making the most of its nine hits. The Potters (11-4) had seven singles and two doubles.
“They didn’t exactly pound us. Several of their hits snuck through the infield,” said Pekin coach Larry Davis.
Braden Shane and Blake Thompson each made their varsity debut on the mound for the Dragons (6-6, 2-4).
SOFTBALL: It was a painful loss in more ways than one Tuesday for the Pekin softball team.
Limestone defeated the host Dragons 7-1 in a Mid-Illini Conference game, scoring all its runs in the sixth and seventh innings to wipe out a 1-0 Pekin lead.
The Rockets scored five times in the sixth and twice more in the seventh.
“We need to play seven innings,” said Pekin coach Skip Penning.
Dragons rightfielder Noelle Bowling was hit in the face by a line drive in the fifth inning and ended up getting 12 stiches to repair a cut over her left eye.
“Noelle was trying to catch the ball and she lost it in the sun. The ball tipped off her glove and hit her,” Penning said.
Bowling was back with the team Wednesday on its trip to Lincoln.
Pekin (4-8) scored its run against Limestone in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by Lexi Juergens that brought home Erin Flairty from third base. Flairty had a leadoff single and with two out, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball.
All was good Saturday when Pekin swept a doubleheader from visiting Springfield, 9-1 and 10-6.
“Our pitching, defense and offense all clicked,” Penning said.
Juergens, the winning pitcher in the opener, helped her cause by hitting two home runs and knocking in six runs.
Flairty went 4-for-4 with a double and two triples, scored three runs and knocked in two runs. Grace Wyman was 2-for-2 with a double and she scored three runs.
Juergens threw a seven-hitter. She struck out seven and walked two.
Several Pekin reserves got a chance to play in the nightcap and came through, Penning said. Lainee Rettke was the winning pitcher.
BOYS TENNIS: Metamora beat visiting Pekin 9-0 Tuesday in a Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis match, but there were some positive notes for the Dragons (2-6, 1-4).
Peyton Swearingen lost at No. 6 singles to Jeremiah Poppen (6-1, 4-6, 10-7), “but he continues to improve with each match as he shakes off the rust from a late start because of an extended ending to his hockey season,” said Pekin coach Gary Garver.
“Peyton came within a whisker of a nice win (against Poppen),” Garver said.
Garver said Pekin sophomores Jayson Presley and Jack Mansfield at No. 3 doubles look better with each match. Metamora’s Garrett Wood and Ricky Nguyen beat them 6-4, 7-6 (8).
“Jayson and Jack had a set point in the second-set tiebreaker, but they couldn’t quite pull it off against two Metamora seniors,” Garver said.
Several players contributed to the Pekin’s 6-3 win Monday over visiting East Peoria in a Mid-Illini match at John Moss Courts that was rescheduled from April 3 and April 16.
Tony Stumphy’s come-from-behind 3-6, 6-4, 10-4 win over East Peoria’s Dan Vangunten at No. 4 singles gave the Dragons a 4-2 lead after the six singles matches had been played.
Presley and Ben Peterson clinched Pekin’s win with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Brett Lambrich and Riley Windell at No. 3 doubles.
Brendan Guenther, Swearengin and Presley won their singles and doubles matches for Pekin (2-5, 1-3).
Guenther placed third at No. 1 singles Saturday in the Galesburg Invitational.
He opened with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Geneseo’s Griffin Tracey, then Sterling’s Dillon Nitz beat him 6-0, 6-0. Guenther rebounded with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Macomb’s Spencer Schlag in the third-place match.
“Brendan played two strong matches in his wins,” Garver said.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.