DIXON – Limiting errors all season was a key factor in the Dixon softball team’s turnaround this spring.
However, miscues in the field cost the Duchesses dearly on Monday in the 3A Rock Falls Regional quarterfinal against Rochelle, as the Hubs came away with a 2-1 victory at Reynolds Field.
Four errors and just five hits against Rochelle pitcher Bella Lodico proved insurmountable for Dixon, which ended its season with a 14-11 record.
“Our bats went silent at the wrong time,” Dixon coach Candi Rogers said, “and the errors killed us.”
Rochelle (6-22) will face Sycamore in the regional semifinals today in Rock Falls.
The Hubs earned their second win against the Duchesses in 6 days, coming off a 4-1 win at Reynolds Field.
“We carried our mentality over from last week’s game against them,” Lodico said. “I pretty much relied on my defense behind me, especially when Dixon had girls on base.”
Mande Lamb recorded a two-out single in the third inning for Rochelle, advanced to second on a throwing error by Dixon right fielder Arianne Smith, and scored on an error by left fielder Kelcy Brechon.
Three of the Duchesses’ five hits came in the bottom of the third.
Leigha Grove singled up the middle to lead off the inning, and Taryn Munroe smacked a two-out single through the left side.
Elle Jarrett singled through the right side, but Rochelle right fielder Mande Lamb threw out Grove trying to score.
A throwing error by Grove started the fourth, followed by singles from Hannah Luxton and Lodico to load the bases with one out. Becca Bunger came through with an RBI single through the left side to make it 2-0 Hubs.
Dixon scored its only run in the fifth. Brechon reached on an error by Hannah Luxton to start the inning, and scored from second on an error by Macy Luxton.
The Duchesses staged a two-out rally in the sixth after Mallory Coley beat out an infield single and Ashley Blythe drew a walk, but Lodico struck out Brechon to end the threat. Sam Tourtillot recorded a two-out single for Dixon, but Lodico struck out Munroe to help the Hubs advance.
“Our conference is so tough that she’s used to pitching against really tough hitters,” Rochelle coach Lindsey Seez said of Lodico. “It was really nice to see her mix things up out there.”
Lodico finished with eight strikeouts, two walks and two hit-batsmen in the circle. She helped herself out by going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Jarrett (10-6) took the hard-luck loss for Dixon, striking out 13 Hubs and scattering seven hits and a walk over seven innings.
“I’m excited for what’s to come,” Rogers said. “We made huge improvements from the beginning of the season until now.”