The Sterling softball team's long-awaited season opener did not disappoint Thursday night in Morris.
The Golden Warriors survived a seventh-inning scare and won a Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover game against the Redskins 4-2.
With the bases loaded and one down in the bottom half, Sterling cut down the lead runner at the plate on a dribbler. Then shortstop Gabby Sandoval snagged a liner, juggled it and held on as she hit the ground. It preserved a complete-game win for Stephanie Kester (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 9 SO, 2 BB).
Cassidy Gillihan had two hits for Sterling (1-0). She and Shannon Long were both driven in by Lauren Fritz in the top of the first.
Gillihan scored on a Kester RBI single in the third, and Bailey Oetting drove in Long in the fifth to build a 4-1 lead.
Erica Gualandi took the loss for Morris (0-1)
Erie-Prophetstown 10, Annawan-Wethersfield 9, 9 inn.: Savannah Mettler collected a season-opening win, and the walkoff hit in a nonconference game in Erie.
Mettler worked 5 2/3 innings of relief, striking out five and allowing four earned runs. She also went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, the latter coming with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Stephanie Thulen supported her with three hits, and Jenna Forward added a home run.
Morgan VanHyfte went 3-for-5 for Annawan (0-1), which left 13 on base.
Milledgeville 20-17, West Carroll 1-0: The Missiles' pitchers came out with guns blazing in Savanna.
Senior ace Emily Bush got the win in the opener and also drove in five runs, and Morgan Adolph got the win in the second game, driving in three runs.
Both games went five innings.
Erie-Prophetstown 8, Annawan-Wethersfield 4: Jordan Chandler picked up his first varsity win, and he went 2-for-5 with a triple and three runs scored in a Panthers' win in Annawan.
Kyle Coleman had two hits and two RBIs, and Zach Hart also drove in two runs. The Panthers (1-1) jumped out to an 8-1 lead thanks to some wild pitching by the Geese. Erie-Prophetstown had seven hit batters and accepted three walks.
Stillman Valley 5, Sterling 0: The Golden Warriors fell to 0-2 on the season with a nonconference loss to the Cardinals at Roscoe Eades Stadium.
Rock Island 5, Sterling 4: Chandler Allen won his singles match and teamed with Max Kasprzak to win in doubles, but Sterling narrowly missed a team win on the road.
Allen beat Lindsey Sutter 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2 singles, and the Golden Warrior duo beat Erik Whitcomb and Atticus Garrison 6-4, 6-2 in No. 3 doubles.
Dustin Stoudt also won in No. 5 singles for Sterling, and Micah Khuntangta and Temo Barron tandemed to win the No. 2 doubles match.
Lauren Fritz, Sterling softball, 2 RBIs
Emily Bush, Milledgeville softball, W, 7 total RBIs
Savannah Mettler, Erie-Prophetstown softball, W in relief, walkoff RBIs
Jordan Chandler, Erie-Prophetstown baseball, 1st varsity W, 3B, 3 R