Seventh inning smash seals Unity win over Quincy Notre Dame

QUINCY - It was even-Steven on the scoreboard at The Backyard, home field to the Raiders of Quincy Notre Dame. Tied at six-all at the top of the 7th inning, Unity's Sophia Beckett hovered over the plate as QND's Caitlyn Bunte hurled a strike past her. On the next pitch, Beckett stepped into the ball, pounding it over the center field wall for solo home run to put the Rockets up by one, 7-6.

The run was all Unity needed after a flawless defensive effort to hold the Raiders scoreless in the bottom of the final frame for their 20th win of the season.

Sophia Beckett
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Unity's Sophia Beckett makes a catch while playing first base during her team's non-conference home game against Cissna Park in April. Beckett delivered Saturday's road win over Quincy Notre Dame by way of a seventh-inning solo home run.

The victory marked Rockets' head coach Aimee Davis' fourth consecutive 20-win season.

Davis, who was unaware of the milestone, said this season has been about making progress.

"We had to figure out who could do what and who was going to make the plays down the stretch. Fortunately for us, we had quite a few players on our team last year and the year before that continue to do good things for us," Davis said. "Our senior class of Abbie Pieczynski, Reece Sarver, and Ashlyn Miller have been great teammates for us this season, really taking control of "their" squad."

Stacking 99 wins against 25 losses in the past four seasons and back-to-back trips to the Final Four, Davis has certainly built a winning culture at Unity. Like the school's football team, the diamond girls aren't rebuilding, they are now reloading every year.

"We have a great junior and sophomore class that have really stepped up to the occasion," Davis added. "Junior Ruby Tarr has been a three-year starter for us, which has helped us tremendously this year. Sophomores Jenna Adkins and Lindy Bates played varsity last year, so they know what is expected."

Unity opened the contest with a two-run lead from the get-go in the first inning and tacked on a third run at the top of the second. QND then answered with a three-run rally to knot the contest up at three-all.

After two scoreless innings, Unity put two more runs up. The first was courtesy of Beckett's line-drive double to center field, scoring courtesy runner Reagan Little, who entered the game for Sarver. Then Maddie Rothe put Bunte's first pitch in play with a hard ground ball to Raider shortstop Abbey Schreacke. Beckett raced from second to home plate, giving the Rockets a 5-3 advantage.

Notre Dame responded with two runs thanks to a two-out line drive from Logan Pieper plating runs from baserunners Amber Durst and Page Blivens.

Tied at five a piece, both teams added another run to their half of the scoreboard before Beckett's homerun shot.

"Ashlyn (Miller) and Lindy (Bates) have really put us in great positions to win on the mound," Davis said, praising her pitching staff. "They allow their defense to help them, and they can both contribute offensively- which is also a plus."

Davis and Rockets look to add another mark in the win column today when they host St. Thomas More in an Illini Prairie league game.

"We are playing well, and we are looking to continue that moving through the tail end of the season," Davis said. "Our grit and never-give-up attitude against Quincy Notre Dame was very nice to see. We are showing we can do it, we can win, and can compete with good teams."