If Bradley’s softball team thought it were finally done with rain-outs, Wednesday changed its mind pretty quickly.
The Braves had a doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday afternoon against Illinois State, and a rainy Wednesday moved those to Thursday. The rain almost kept them playing, but the women still found a way to get onto the diamond.
After a 70-minute rain delay in the top of the third inning, sophomore Elizabeth Leonard hit a three-run, bases-clearing double enroute to a 5-3 win over the Redbirds.
“It helped I got a hit,” she said. “I feel like I could’ve stretched it to a triple, but I didn’t.”
Her bases-loaded double wasn’t to be outdone by senior Kendall Duffy’s two-run triple the inning earlier, but it provided the winning runs as ISU staged a potential comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Even though the Braves won their first game, the second game was postponed due to rain and darkness.
“We don’t have light,” head coach Amy Hayes said. “With any sort of a delay, we’re not getting two games in today. We were actually happy two get one in.”
Hayes said she was elated with her team’s performance, considering the complications over the past couple days.
“You can’t let something you have no control over frustrate you,” Hayes said. “We had a bit of a delay, but we got the game in, and the positive is that we didn’t really skip a beat.”
However, Leonard said it felt great to beat their biggest conference rival, even if it was only once.
“Since our seniors have been here, we really haven’t won a series against them,” Leonard said. “It’s really frustrating because we want to get our games in. [But] it’s not life changing, you just have to roll with the punches.”
Frustration aside, the Braves won what Hayes called one of their “best games” of the season.
“It was one of the best games we put together in a while,” Hayes said. “[It was] one of the most complete games offensively and in the circle.”
Junior Jaelen Hull started for the Braves in the circle and went 2.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits.
Freshman Megan Mahaffy replaced her in the third after the rain delay and pitched the rest of the game, staving off a Redbird comeback in the seventh to take the 5-3 win.
“A little bit better communication, and that game ends one batter sooner,” Hayes said. “I’ve been pretty tough on [the pitchers] lately and challenging them quite a bit. Today, they made some adjustments and stepped up for their team.”
Bradley and ISU will make up their second game this Tuesday after a weekend in Carbondale against Southern Illinois.
“It’s a quicker turnaround for us,” Hayes said. “We have a pretty good idea of what were going to come up against.”
Hayes also said the April 23 game against SIU will be dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancer.
“On Saturday, both teams, SIU and Bradley, will be wearing gold laces in their shoes for pediatric cancer,” Hayes said. “It’s something that’s close to our heart as a team, and something we’ve been involved in all year long.”
Bradley will have Amy Mitchell, a doctor from the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, throw out the first pitch, and the team will also celebrate junior Caitlyn McCarron, who is a pediatric cancer survivor.
“We have a website, and Kendall Duffy has been the driving force and the organizer behind all of that,” Hayes said. “Our goal was $1,000, and we grazed over that.”
Those who wish to donate can visit donate.go4thegoal.org.