LANSING | First-year Chicago Christian softball coach Kevin Pittman spoke from experience when he said one can throw out the records when the Knights and Illiana Christian face each other in any sport.
The belief of the Chicago Christian alum certainly held up Saturday, as the favored Knights needed a sixth-inning run to claim a 3-2 win and the 2A Illiana Christian Regional title on Saturday morning.
The Knights (24-9) advance to the semifinals of their own sectional on Wednesday, while the Vikings close out the season at 13-21.
"We played a solid game," Vikings coach Mike Oppenhuis said. "The one thing that we had been focusing on all week is getting bunts down, and we didn't do a very good job of that today."
The Vikings were looking for any way to get on base Saturday against hard-throwing Knight senior Becky DeRuiter, who struck out 10 Vikings and did not allow a hit past the fourth inning.
DeRuiter also helped her own cause in the bottom of the sixth. With the game tied 2-2, DeRuiter hit a two-out gap double off Vikings reliever Alexa Van Beek. De Ruiter advanced to third on a pitch in the dirt to teammate Kaycee Pittman, whose infield single then brought home DeRuiter with the go-ahead run.
DeRuiter closed out the seventh for the complete-game win. She also made a run-saving play in the second with a blind-sided, between-the-legs tag at home of Kate Van Schouwen, who was trying to score on a wild pitch.
The Knights struck first with a two-run home run by Lindsay Huisenga in the first off Vikings starting pitcher Holly Zuidema.
The Vikings never led Saturday. An infield single in the third by Viking senior Clare Ipema scored Jaclene Bonnema and cut the Knights' advantage to 2-1. In the fourth inning, a single by Kat Witting skipped past the Knights outfielder, which allowed Van Schouwen to score from first with the tying run.