By Shane Hulsey
Morgan Heckman and Alex DeVaney didn’t just stumble upon each other at Quincy University.
They share a friendship that dates back more than a decade.
Heckman is from Spaulding, Illinois, about 10 minutes from DeVaney’s hometown of Sherman.
The two started playing softball together when they were in grade school. Heckman was even DeVaney’s catcher on their summer team.
The two competed against each other in high school then went to different junior colleges, which were both in the Mid-West Athletic Conference at the time (Heckman went to Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, and DeVaney went to Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois) before transferring to Quincy for their junior seasons.
“It was our dream growing up to go to the same college,” Heckman said. “To go to different ju-co’s then be able to finish out our senior years together, it’s really cool.”
Both had a senior day to remember Saturday against McKendree at the Mart Heinen Softball Complex. Heckman hit a walk-off home run in extra innings in game one to give the Hawks a 7-6 win, and DeVaney tossed a complete game and gave up just four hits in an 8-1 Hawks win in game two.
“We started together, now we’re going to end together,” DeVaney said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
In game one, Quincy trailed 6-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Kay Bettendorf walked to lead off the inning, then Kylie Powers drove her in with a double to right center. Powers then scored on a Megan Sharpshair ground out to get the Hawks within one.
With two outs, Dana Walsh roped a double to right center that one-hopped off the wall and scored Audrey Hermann, who walked with one out, to tie the game at 6. Courtney Kernich lined out to third to end the inning.
Then it was Heckman’s time to shine.
Heckman turned on a 1-1 pitch on the inside corner and put it over the left field wall to give the Hawks their first win since March 31.
Walsh said the bench had an inkling something big was about to happen when Heckman came to the plate.
“All of us in the dugout were like, ‘You know what, Morgan’s gonna get this hit.’ We just had a feeling,” she said.
Once Heckman connected, there was no doubt as to where the ball would land.
“The second that thing was off the bat, we were running to home plate,” Walsh said. “There wasn’t a question in any of our minds it was gone.”
The Hawks used a seven-run fourth inning to pull away in game two. Heckman went 2 for 4 with a two-RBI double in the fourth.
DeVaney didn’t strike out a single batter, but she threw just 90 pitches and only surrendered six baserunners.
DeVaney has appeared in 20 games in 2019, including 14 starts. She leads the team with 91 1/3 innings pitched and has thrown six complete games.
Heckman has started all 86 games the Hawks have played since the start of 2018. Last year, the Hawks left fielder hit .363 with three home runs and led the Hawks in doubles, hits and slugging percentage.
She has not slowed down in 2019. Through 38 games, she is hitting .328 with seven home runs, 12 doubles, 28 RBI’s and a .680 slugging percentage.
“She’s been a gamer for us the last two years,” Hawks coach Carla Passini said. “I’m definitely excited to have her for eight more games here and see how she can finish.”