Allyson Dilday is one of three Yorkville pitchers, each with their own unique attributes.
What is Dilday's?
"She is extremely composed on the mound," Yorkville coach Jory Regnier said. "Very little rattles her. A pitcher's game is confidence, and she is confident."
Dilday's day on the mound was Thursday, and that poise was on full showcase.
The junior right-hander dueled with Kaneland freshman Emilee Erickson for six innings, before the Knights scratched across an unearned run in the seventh for a 2-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East win.
Dilday, who struck out five and scattered eight hits, proved a tough grader of her performance.
"I could have done better, but you're your worst critic," Dilday said. "I really would have liked to beat them, but it's always a close game."
Indeed it is.
Kaneland (12-5-1, 5-1) swept the season series with Yorkville (11-6, 2-3), both one-run games and both decided on the last at-bat. In this one, Kaneland's Lauren Callahan reached on an error to start the seventh in a 1-1 game and eventually scored the go-ahead run on Lexi Abruzzo's RBI groundout.
"They're a good team," Regnier said. "We're both very similar with our age, both young teams. They're good competition. Those are the games you want to prepare you for the postseason."
Dilday shares time on the mound with Hannah Jaros and Katie Marker. Jaros and Marker both pitched in the first game with Kaneland, so it made sense that Dilday got the call Thursday.
Yorkville oftentimes throws multiple pitchers, but that wasn't necessary Thursday. Aside from a third-inning homer from Lewis recruit Morgan Weber, Dilday kept Kaneland at bay for six innings. She struck out five.
"She pitched a great game," Regnier said. "In my opinion if a pitcher is having a good game there is no sense changing things up just for the sake of changing things up."
And, speaking of changeups.
"Allyson has a killer changeup," Regnier said. "She gets tons of batters on it."
Yorkville scored its lone run off Erickson, a freshman making her first conference start, in the first inning. Sydney Woodworth and Brittany Thomas singled, and Woodworth scored on Haylee Reyes' sacrifice fly.
The Foxes put two more baserunners on in each of the next two innings, but the big hit proved elusive. And then Erickson got stronger, retiring the last 15 batters she faced in a swirling wind.
"Kaneland strung a couple hits together in key positions, and we were in the same position earlier. We just didn't get the key hit," Regnier said. "The game could have gone either way."
So could several of Yorkville's conference games.
All three of the Foxes' losses in-league have come by one run, and Regnier has an idea how they can turn the corner.
"Defensively we're playing solid, it constantly keeps us in games - it's just the growing at the plate," Regnier said. "Hitting is something that comes and goes. We have to get that rhythm again, getting good confident at-bats. Once we do that we'll be fine."