HAMMOND | Many old-timers say today's youth just don't listen to their elders anymore. Too busy with social media and other silly nonsense, it's been suggested.
It's a good thing that Morton softball coach Matt Barno didn't have that trouble on Monday night in Hessville. Against a red-hot Westville Blackhawks team, the Govs listened when they easily could've put their heads down and quit.
"I told them it's all about how you handle the little things," Barno said."Tough things happen to everyone. It's how you respond that separates winners from losers.
"That's the game of softball right there."
Morton led 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, but two errors and a wild pitch allowed the Blackhawks to tie the score. That's when the speech occurred. That's when Morton listened.
A one-out single by junior Katie Caldwell was followed by Justine Ramirez reaching on an error. A walk to Yarieliz Reyes loaded the bases, and a wild pitch by Katie Piotrowski allowed pinch runner Kali Caine to score the walk-off 3-2 win, Morton's seventh straight win.
"We had a tough inning but all we could do is shake it off and come right back," said Morton pitcher Angelica Justiniano, who fired a two-hitter to raise her record to 5-2.
Her freshman sister, Pam Justiniano, singled home two runs for Morton (10-3) in the third inning. Angelica said she would not take her 'little sis' out for dinner for providing the big hit.
"I'll give her a pat on the back," Angelica said.
Pam had missed a bunt the pitch before her big hit.
"She kind of threw it down the middle so I took a swing and got the hit," Pam said.
The Blackhawks (11-4) scored a run in the second when Beth Piotrowski led off with a double and was single home by Krysten Wilson's single. In the sixth, Danielle Bennitt reached on an error, as did Kensi Gardner. Bennitt ended up scoring on a wild pitch, too, tying the score.
Westville had its six-game winning streak snapped.
"It's not an excuse, but all of our girls were really sick," Westville coach Mark Dineen said. "Morton's a big school and a good team. I thought our girls played well. Just a play here or a play there and it could've gone our way."
After Bennitt scored, Shaina Jacks hit a deep fly to left but Morton's Vivian Peterson threw a bullet home to nail the runner to set up the Govs' final at-bat.
"I just wanted to get a hit to help our team," Caldwell said. "This was a big win for us."