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CASEY -- Lindsay Beasley, a Casey senior, usually wears contacts, but she didn't have them in Tuesday in the non-conference softball game between Casey-Westfield and Mattoon at Lady Warrior Field in Fairview Park. It didn't matter as Beasley hit home runs in all three at-bats to help Casey-Westfield, the No. 10 team in Class 2A, win 6-3. 

"I have hit home runs in games before, but never three," said Beasley. "It is a good accomplishment and it led us to a good win."

Beasley tied for ninth place all-time with 49 other players for the most home runs by an individual in a game according to the Illinois High School Association records.

"When she is on she can be one of the best hitters around," said Casey coach Dalton McFarland. "She has the potential to put up big games. It was nice to see her bounce back from Monday when she struggled a little bit (0-for-3 in a 12-0 win over Olney). When her swing is on and she is swinging at good pitches she can really drive the ball."

As for her contacts McFarland said, "Nothing surprises me with her."

Casey led 4-2 after four an a half innings when Harley Mason led off the inning with a solo home run and Beasley followed with her third homer near the left field line. Beasley was on deck in the sixth when the inning ended. 

Mattoon didn't go quietly in the seventh. After the first two were out Grace McDowell reached on an infield hit and Delainey Bryant followed with a double to the gap in right/center scoring McDowell. Bryant stole third, but was left there as Casey's Claire Maulding recorded her ninth strikeout. 

"They scored all of their runs on home runs," said Mattoon coach Hannah Dow. "Our pitchers have to hit the corners. I give a nod to Lindsay Beasley for hitting three home runs in a row. We struck out nine times and five of them were looking and that is unacceptable. We will work on pitch selection, being aggressive at at the plate and our pitchers are going to have more work outs. We have a lot to work on."

Mattoon struck first as McDowell singled to center and scored on a one-out double to the gap in left-center by Bella Coffey. 

Casey didn't take long to answer as Mackenzie Morgan singled to center and went to second on an error, Mason walked and Beasley hit a full-count pitch over the fence just to the left of the 225 foot mark in center field for a home run. The Lady Warriors never trailed after that. 

The Green Wave cut the deficit to one when with two outs in the third Bryant singled to center, stole second and scored when Coffey hit a full-count pitch to left field and advanced to second on the throw home. 

Casey got the run back in its half of the third when Beasley hit a one-out solo home run to left field.

Both teams worked out of jams in the fourth inning. Mattoon had runners on first and third and one out when Maulding recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat. Casey had bases loaded and no outs when a fielder's choice on a throw from McDowell, the third baseman fielded a ball and threw to the catcher, McKenzee Davee for the force out at home. Bryant caught a line drive and threw to McDowell for the games only double play. 

"Claire is really good at working out of jams," said McFarland of the sophomore, who improved to 7-1. "She keeps her composure really well. As a whole our defense and pitching staff does a good job of buckling down when we need to get out of tight spots."

Mattoon left six runners on, including five in scoring position, while the Lady Warriors left five on, four in scoring position. 

"First off we want to score early and get on top and then try and score every inning or at least have consistent at-bats," said McFarland. "If we do that we will keep scoring in most innings. Mattoon has always been a good program and they have a good team and coaching staff. They have not played as many games as us and that hurts them a little bit, but as they get going they are going to be a really good team this year."

The Green Wave out hit Casey 9-7. 

"In the seventh it was due or die time and they could have either thrown in the towel and give up or fight back and a couple of them got a base hit. They didn't give up and they were more aggressive at the plate and that has to happen before the seventh inning. It is harder to fight from behind rather than to stay up all game. We have to focus on winning each inning."

Coffey was 3-for-4 for MHS, while McDowell and Bryant were 2-for-4.

"Bella Coffey hit great and so did Delainey Bryant," said Dow. "Bryant has really stepped up as a freshman and made some good plays at shortstop."

Mattoon, 1-3, is to travel to Flora Wednesday for  a non-conference game, while Casey, 10-1, is to travel to Robinson for a Little Illini Conference game Thursday. 


Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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