The Sauk Valley Skyhawks stayed alive in a big way at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national championships.
Sauk, which lost its opener at the double-elimination tourney Wednesday, won two games Thursday. The Skyhawks, the No. 10 seed in the 16-team field, beat Burlington County (N.J.) 12-4 in five innings. Then, Sauk beat Mercyhurst North East (Pa.) 7-3.
The Skyhawks (36-14) meet No. 4 seed Cowley County (Kan.) (52-7) today at noon. If it keeps winning, Sauk will play three games today.
Kaiti Mathey belted a three-run homer and had four RBIs against Burlington County (37-17). Courtney Shepard had three hits and an RBI. Brianna Schultz (9-5) went 3 1/3 innings for the win.
Against Mercyhurst (44-12), Kiara Kaleel (19-5) got the win, and Kelsey Hagan hit a three-run homer in Sauk’s six-run third.
Mendota 3, Forreston-Polo 2: The Cardinals struck first but couldn’t avoid a season-ending stunner to the sixth-seeded Trojans in a 2A Oregon Regional semifinal.
Nick Ludwig drove in Brady Grobe in the first and plated him again in the fifth, but Mendota scored a run in the top of the third and two more in the fourth.
Dylan Bushman took the loss in relief for the second-seeded Cardinals (12-11), allowing two runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. Cody Zinke got the win.
Eastland 11, Milledgeville 1, 5 inn.: Matt Keppen worked all five for an abbreviated two-hitter than ended the Missiles’ season in a 1A AFC Regional semifinal.
Keppen struck out six and walked one, and the run he allowed was unearned. Chase Giedd hit a three-run home run for the Cougars (14-7).
Regular season baseball
Sterling 12, Dixon 3: The Golden Warriors built a 9-0 lead and cruised to the Northern Illinois Big 12 West win over the Dukes at Veterans Memorial Field.
Sterling’s Tanner Morse went five shutout innings for the win, allowing four hits and walking two while striking out three. Sterling coach Robbie Minor was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
John Thomas (2-7) took the loss for Dixon (8-22, 2-12), though only two of the six runs he allowed in four innings were earned.
Alleman 10, Rock Falls 3: The Rockets got in some battle testing against a powerhouse in their regular-season finale at home.
Austin Donoho took the nonconference loss, allowing nine runs – six earned – on 11 hits in five innings.
Dustin Huycke had three hits for the Rockets (19-8), who got RBIs from Trace Hippen and Jacob Mammosser.
Moline 12, Sterling 0, 5 inn.: The Maroons scored all 12 of the nonconference game’s runs in the top of the fifth in Sterling.
Stephanie Kester (18-3) took the loss for Sterling (21-3).
Kaiti Mathey and Kelsey Hagan, Sauk softball, 3-run homers in 2 wins at nationals
Matt Keppen, Eastland baseball, 5-inning 2-hitter, 6 SO, 0 ER