Janesville Craig’s softball team celebrated Senior Night in style Tuesday.
Katie Kealy hit a two-run homer and Paige Peloquin added a clutch two-run double, helping the Cougars rally from an early four-run deficit for a 6-5 Big Eight Conference win over Middleton.
With the win, Craig (10-12, 7-10) split the regular-season series with the Cardinals (12-9, 9-7) and has now won three of its last four conference games.
Kealy tied the game at 4-4 in the third with a two-run homer and went the distance in getting the win. The senior right-hander allowed only one earned run.
“We just kind of flushed out that first inning,” Kealy said of Middleton’s four-run first that was aided by two Craig errors. “We’ve always been told that if you make an error, pick yourself up, take the blame and come back stronger on the next play.
“To get a win here (the Janesville Youth Sports Complex) on our last home game made things even more special. It’s such a good environment to play in and to be around my teammates.”
With the game tied at 4-4 in the fifth, Middleton took the lead on a fielder’s choice groundout.
Craig answered in the bottom of the inning. Keeley Cox singled to start the rally and advanced to second when Katelyn Palmer walked. Peloquin then gave the Cougars the lead for good when she ripped a two-run double just inside the left-field foul line.
Middleton got the leadoff runner aboard to start the seventh, but Kealy worked out of trouble to preserve the win.
Craig first-year coach Kristen Worm said her team is gaining momentum with the postseason around the corner.
“These girls have been playing competitive ball together since they were little, and I think they really believe that they can do good things in the tournament,” Worm said.
“Today was special because not only was it Senior Night, but it was a win over a Middleton team that beat us by one run earlier this season.”
Amanda Carlson had three hits for Craig and drove in the first two runs with a double.
Craig wraps up the conference season Thursday at Madison West.
CRAIG 6, MIDDLETON 5
Middleton 400 010 0—5 5 4
Janesville Craig 022 020 x—6 8 2
Thayer, Buza and Hebert; Kealy and Flint
Leading hitters—Carlson (C) 3x4, Kealy (C) 2x4, Palmer (C) 2x3. 2B—Roberts (M), Peloquin (C), Carlson, Palmer. HR—Bindl (M), Kealy
SO—Thayer 5, Buza 1, Kealy 2. BB—Buza 3, Kealy 2