HS softball: Carlinville takes down state-ranked Calhoun, Gillespie weathers early storm
Staunton opens season with two road wins, Bunker Hill and North Mac split
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The first week of the local high school softball season brought loads of drama, particularly for Carlinville and Gillespie.
The Cavaliers were put to the test against a state-ranked foe and the Miners had to overcome a rare rough pitching outing from Emma Gipson.
Both teams responded to the challenge and each came away victorious.
Carlinville takes down Calhoun
In Julie Gibson’s first game as the Carlinville High School coach, it was only fitting that her daughter would be the one that grasped the reigns and led the Cavaliers to victory in a tough road contest.
Blossoming sophomore hurler Hannah Gibson tossed a gem, going the distance and shutting down Calhoun in enemy territory. With the help of strong defense coupled with her own pinpoint control, H. Gibson limited the Warriors to just one run on two hits. She struck out seven and only issued one free pass.
Addie Ruyle gave CHS the lead with a clutch two-run double in the top of the fourth and Braley Wiser added insurance via a fifth inning sacrifice.
Calhoun broke the ice in the bottom of the sixth, but H. Gibson remained in command and prevented any further damage.
Gillespie weathers early storm
The Gillespie Miners channeled their inner Rocky Balboa Mar. 16 against Carrollton.
The Hawks pushed across nine runs against Emma Gipson, a rare feat, but GHS refused to go down despite absorbing some powerful punches.
Gillespie earned its second win in two days, 16-9.
Carrollton drew first blood right away, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the opening frame, and remained ahead by two until the fourth. Gillespie heated up for seven unanswered tallies and built what seemed to be an insurmountable advantage mid-way through five.
Carrollton wasn’t finished yet. The Hawks stunned Gipson yet again in the bottom of fifth and scored five to pull back within a single run, 9-8.
Like Rocky Balboa, Gillespie remained focused, kept fighting and eventually delivered the final knockout blow. That came in the top of the sixth, when the Miners unleashed seven more runs and ultimately sealed the deal.
Gillespie doubled up Carrollton in hits with 18, including three home runs, seven doubles and a pair of triples.
Gipson, Ava Parish and Megan Rife all launched one over the fence and contributed three RBI apiece. Parish led GHS in hits with four in five at-bats. Delaney Taylor and Wrigley Releford each went 2-for-4. Taylor plated three tallies of her own with two doubles. Releford singled twice and contributed two RBI.
The Miners opened the season with a 9-0 victory over Pawnee at home Mar. 15.
Staunton opens season with two wins, Bunker Hill and North Mac split
In other action, Staunton started the season with a pair of road victories while Bunker Hill and North Mac split their first two contests.
Staunton stomped Nokomis, 12-4, behind multi-RBI performances from Ele Feldmann, Taylor Nolan and Samantha Anderson Mar. 14, then rode the arm of Gianna Bianco to a 6-1 victory at Father McGivney Mar. 15.
North Mac defeated Auburn, 10-5, Mar. 14, then lost at Nokomis, 9-6, Mar. 20.
Bunker Hill won at Dupo, 8-1, Mar. 16 but had its home opener spoiled by East Alton-Wood River, 2-1, Mar. 20.