EAST PEORIA | The only tears on the Beecher players' faces Saturday at EastSide Centre were from the raindrops that pelted them after their 6-1 loss to Monticello in the Class 2A third-place game.
Despite losing, the Ladycats stood tall and proud as they received their medals and trophy.
In a season where Beecher had little trouble scoring runs, it struggled against the Sage's Chrissy Gadbury. The Ladycats managed just five hits and one run.
"Their pitcher pitched a good game," Beecher's Savannah Lowe said. "They came out and played hard and won the game."
Like Friday's semifinal loss to Teutopolis, one bad inning did in the Ladycats.
The Sage (31-5) scored six times in the third to wipe out a 1-0 deficit and kept Beecher in check the rest of the way. The Ladycats had just four baserunners after the first inning.
"Gadbury really had us in check," Beecher coach Kevin Hayhurst said. "We never got anything going after the first and another big inning hurt us."
Beecher took a 1-0 lead when Taylor Johnson hit her single-season school record 18th home run to right-center field with two outs in the first. Sarah Crew doubled, but the Ladycats (33-9) could not muster any more runs.
"We got a good pitch and hit it hard," Johnson said. "We didn't get much after that."
Monticello took the lead for good in the third when Gadbury doubled in Claire Huisinga and Samantha Valentine, who got on with a bunt single. Both advanced to second and third respectively on a wild pitch.
Allie Hislope then homered to right, scoring pinch-runner Mallory Becker to make it 4-1. Megan Taylor reached on an error and Megan Magsamen homered to right.
"We made some errors today and it hurt us," Lowe said. "I give them credit as they came out and hit the ball well on us and their pitcher shut us down."
Johnson had two of the Ladycats' five hits.
"We had a good year," Crews said. "We made it to state and we played some real tough competition."