GIBSON CITY -- With a 4-0 win Wednesday over Tri-Valley, the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley softball team advanced to the IHSA regional finals for the second straight year.
“It was good to come out and get our feet wet again," GCMS head coach Kara Smith said. "It was great to come out and get a win.”
Madi Eberle pitched a one-hit shutout for GCMS (16-7), striking out 14 batters and walking none through all seven innings.
“I think she did a really good job mixing up her pitches," Smith said. "She threw her changeup really well today.”
Eberle retired her first 11 at-bats faced, including eight strikeouts, before Tri-Valley's Morgan Boward reached base on an error. Boward stole second base before Izzy Mata flied out to GCMS second-baseman Ashley Hyatt.
In the top of the fifth inning, Morgan Hauptman hit a leadoff single to left field and advanced to second base on a Sydney Garrels sacrifice bunt.
Eberle struck out Grace Martin before Annie Dew bunted out to Eberle.
From there, Eberle retired her final six at-bats faced, including five strikeouts.
“We still have to become fundamentally sound on the defensive end and not be caught off guard whenever the ball is hit to us," Smith said. "That’s something we’ll keep working on in the next couple of days of practice.”
Eberle also drove in GCMS's first two runs via a two-run homer to center field in the bottom of the first inning. Eberle crossed home plate on the dinger after hitting a leadoff single to left field.
With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Makenzi Bielfeldt singled to left field and advanced to second base on a wild pitch and third base on an error before being tagged out at third base on an Ashley Hyatt fielder's choice ground ball.
After Hannah Hathaway singled to center field, Emily Clinton bunted and reached base on an error. Hyatt and Hathaway scored on the bunt to extend GCMS's lead to 4-0.
“Our hitting was great," Smith said. "I think we came out strong, and then we kind of got content and complacent. We just need to become better, and I think we just swung out of our shoes a little bit. We’ll work on that, too.”
The third-seeded Falcons will face second-seeded Bloomington Central Catholic (24-11) in the regional championship at 11 p.m. Saturday.
“We took some notes on the BCC (pitcher), seeing what she threw and seeing how their defense and hitting was," Smith said. "It’ll be a good game on Saturday.”
GCMS 4, Tri-Valley 0
TV 000 000 0 -- 0 1 5
GCMS 220 000 x -- 4 4 1
W -- Madi Eberle, 7 IP, H, 0 R, 14 K, 0 BB. L -- Mata, 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 K, 0 BB.
Tri-Valley -- Hauptman 1-3.
GCMS (16-7) -- Emily Clinton 1-3, R. Madi Eberle 1-3, HR, 2 RBIs, R. Makenzi Bielfeldt 1-3. Ashley Hyatt R. Hannah Hathaway 1-2, R.