Topsy-turvy Thursday for Cavies softball
By Eric Becker and Kyle Cunningham
The Carlinville High School softball team had a strange but highly productive final day of the season last Thursday.
Mother Nature had not been kind to the Cavaliers the past two weeks, who were trying to makeup a final conference game against Litchfield.
At the same time, the regional tournament was getting started.
The two came full circle Thursday with Carlinville traveling a few miles down Route 4 to Gillespie to meet the Hillsboro Hilltoppers in regional competition.
Carlinville’s season came to a close with a 6-1 loss to the Toppers.
Jordyn Houseman had two hits and Natalie Kaganich had a double and RBI for the Cavies.
Although officially the season was over, there was still one more game to be played. The Cavaliers returned to Loveless Park later that night to meet the Litchfield Purple Panthers in a makeup contest. It was also Senior Night for the team.
Gillespie had already clinched a share of the conference crown with an 8-1 record. Carlinville, with a win, would finish 8-1 in the conference, meaning a first South Central Conference championship in softball.
Trailing 1-0 in the third, Alyssa DeSpain’s grand slam to right field gave the Cavies the lead they would not relinquish in a 10-1 Carlinville victory.
Baylee Hughes tripled, singled, scored three runs and drove in three runs, while DeSpain finished a single, home run and five RBIs.
On the mound, DeSpain pitched a three-hitter, striking out nine.
Carlinville finished the season with 16-9 record, 8-1 in the SCC.
Dupo 5, Staunton 2
The Staunton Bulldogs Varsity softball team accomplished two things they have never done in the history of their program which was record 20 wins in a season and compete for a regional title.
Unfortunately they will have to wait to add a regional title to their resume. The 20-6 Bulldogs met up with the 16-5 Tigers in the 2A Southwestern Regional Championship on Saturday.
SHS fell to the Tigers earlier in the season 6-0. They were looking for redemption and posed a legitimate threat with conference standout Delissa Dennison on the mound.
Despite losing in their previous matchup, Staunton knew they had a good enough team to advance. They began to turn heads when they upset one of the best teams in the state, 30-3 rival Gillespie in a 2-1 pitchers duel on April 18.
Dupo, however was up for the challenge and countered with solid defense and an outstanding pitching performance by Jessica Stansch. In the end they out performed the Bulldogs, taking a 5-2 victory thus putting an end to an unforgettable season.
After being set down in order the Bulldogs knew they would have to play their best to upset the Tigers. Dupo was able to get on the board in the first despite being struck out by Dennison three times. Alyssa Strubberg singled to lead off the inning, Dennison then walked the next batter.
This however did not phase her as she got the next two Tigers looking. It looked as though she would get out of the inning when a pop up was hit between the pitcher and the catcher.
Staunton dropped what seemed to be a routine play which in turn loaded the bases. Dennison would strike out the final batter, but not before the runner at third came home on a passed ball.
Staunton would break the tie in the top of the fourth on an RBI bloop single to center off the bat of Maddie Nichols. Nichols brought in Marcy McCalla who recorded the first hit for the Bulldogs on a double up the middle.
After surrendering a single to Natalie Gusewelle, Stansch was able to get out of the jam and limit the damage to just a single run.
Dupo broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth on another base hit from Strubberg. Skylure Barlow then brought her home on an RBI bunt this brought the score to 3-1
The Bulldogs were unable to counter in the top of the sixth despite putting the lead runner on. A two run blast off the bat of Megan Brown seemed to surely seal the deal for the Tigers with the way Stansch was pitching.
SHS could only muster up one more run off the stingy Stansch. Their second run of the contest came on an RBI single up the middle by Kaleigh Pirok.
The Bulldogs recorded just four hits, two of them came from McCalla. Pirok and Nichols earned the other two and drove in a run a piece.
Dennison went 6 innings, allowed five runs (four earned), struck out eight and walked two.
The Bulldogs finish their season at 20-7.
#2 Dupo will face 25-3 #1 Buffalo Tri City in the first semifinal game at the Gillespie Sectional. The winner will face either Williamsville or Gillespie for the Sectional Title
Gillespie 10, Hillsboro 0
At Gillespie, the Miners won a regional crown with a 10-0 win over conference rival Hillsboro on Saturday morning.
Gillespie scored two runs in three of the first four innings, then tacked on four in the fifth to win by the mercy rule.
Addison Bryant struck out nine and pitched a three-hit shutout for the Miners.
Offensively, Ally Clay homered and scored twice. Bette Hammann had a triple, two singles and three runs scored. Bryant had two hits and four RBIs.
Mt. Olive 4, West Central 2
At Greenfield, Mt. Olive put some revenge on West Central for winning the Mt. Olive girls basketball tournament, turning the tables on West Central in the softball regional final Saturday.
The Wildcats won 4-2, advancing to Tuesday’s sectional semifinal at Liberty at 6:30 p.m. against Camp Point Central.
Against West Central, the Wildcats scored single runs in the first and third to take the early lead.
West Central tied it with two runs in the fourth. Mt. Olive got single runs in the fifth and seventh, and held on for the win.
Rachael Kernich pitched a six-hitter, striking out 11 in gaining the win for the Wildcats.
Courtney Kernich had four hits, including a double and home run, scoring three runs and driving in one.
R. Kernich had a double, single and run; Jill Niehaus had two doubles and two RBIs; Zoe Murphy added two hits.
Gillespie 6, Litchfield 0
At Gillespie, the regional semifinal on Wednesday had the Miners blanking the Purple Panthers.
Gillespie had a three-run fifth inning to slowly pull away.
Bryant struck out 11 and pitched a one-hit shutout. She also had a triple, two singles and a run scored on offense.
Mackenzie Kasarda homered and drove in two runs to pace the Gillespie attack.
Mt. Olive 4, Carrollton 0
At Greenfield, a semifinal regional contest was won by the Wildcats Wednesday over the Hawks.
Mt. Olive scored a run in the first, two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth inning.
R.Kernich pitched a one-hit shutout, striking out four.
Niehaus homered, singled and drove in a run. R. Kernich had a double, run and two RBIs and C. Kernich had two hits and a run.
Murphy added three hits, and Madison Bollman had two hits. MaKenzy Sorsen had a single and double.
Staunton 15, East Alton-WR 9
At Piasa, the Bulldogs won a Wednesday regional semifinal battle in a high-scoring outburst against the Oilers.
Staunton led 8-0 after thee innings, but EAWR crept within 9-6 in the fifth inning, and within 10-8 with two runs in the sixth.
Staunton added five runs in the sixth to pull away.
McCalla had three hits, including a home run, drove in five runs and scored three runs. Emily Redeker had a home run, three runs and four RBIs. Maddie Nichols homered and scored three runs; Sydney Anderson had two RBIs; Grace Nichols had two runs and three RBIs; and Dennison had two hits.
Dennison picked up the win, striking out eight while allowing 10 hits and six earned runs.
Staunton 11, Vandalia 0
At Staunton, in a conference makeup game on Thursday, the Bulldogs slowed down the Vandals.
A five-run first inning and six-run fifth inning did the trick for Staunton.
McCalla doubled, homered, scored twice and drove in three runs. Savannah Welch also had three RBIs. Gusewelle and Dennison drove in two runs each.
Dennison pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out eight.