By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
In Macoupin County high school softball action, Gillespie defeated two Illinois High School Association Class 3A opponents from the St. Louis area.
Carlinville and North Mac overpowered Greenfield-Northwestern in five frames.
Southwestern, Staunton and Bunker Hill all entered the month of April rather quietly.
Gillespie beats two 3A opponents
Hungry for its first sectional title in the Michelle Smith coaching era, the Gillespie High School softball team is rapidly trending upward, gaining confidence and consistently ripping off wins despite having one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the local area.
The Miners added two victories over Illinois High School Association Class 3A opponents to their resume last week.
Gillespie beat Triad 5-3 on enemy turf in Troy Mar. 29 then gave their fans a thrill with a memorable 3-2 come-from-behind win against Highland at home the following evening.
This impressive back-to-back occured nine days after the Miners had already strengthened their reputation via a gritty effort versus Edwardsville. They fell short in that contest, but it was evenly-matched throughout. The Tigers barely escaped Gillespie unscathed in a 2-0 nailbiter.
The pitching of Division I commit Emma Gipson, coupled with a flawless defense, acted as the super glue keeping GHS strong and secure. The bats eventually followed suit.
The Miners pushed across a run in the top of the fourth against Triad to end an 11-inning scoring drought. The host Knights responded and re-tied the score in the bottom sector, but Gillespie stayed the course and gave Gipson a 5-1 cushion to sit on for the final six outs. The GHS junior ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh then limited the damage after the Knights cut the lead in half. Gipson was additionally faced with some rare command issues in certain instances throughout the afternoon, giving up five walks, but managed to finish another complete game of many.
Against Highland, the Miners were faced with a familiar 2-0 deficit late. This time, the offense came up clutch and reversed their fate. Gillespie plated all three of its tallies in the bottom of the sixth and Gipson slammed the door in the seventh.
Sadie Sholtis and Paxton Reid each delivered an RBI knock to give the Miners the lead.
Gillespie is 4-1 this season.
Carlinville and North Mac overpower Greenfield-Northwestern
Greenfield-Northwestern is off to an 0-5 start following a pair of rough outings against Carlinville and North Mac.
Carlinville rebounded from a 7-5 loss to Jerseyville and smoked the Tigers, 10-0, at Loveless Park Apr. 1. The Cavaliers plated two runs in both the third and fourth, then locked up a mercy rule victory in walkoff fashion. Olivia Kunz led the offensive charge for CHS, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Hannah Gibson and Kendall Maddox hurled a three-hit shutout.
Gibson made the start and struck out seven batters in four frames. Each pitcher issued a walk. Carlinville was 4-2 heading into an Apr. 3 dual with Staunton, which will be covered in next week’s issue.
After GF-NW had knocked out Natalie Little with five first inning tallies in Virden Mar. 29, Taylor Keirs came on in relief and silenced the Tiger bats while the Panthers initiated a quick turnaround and went on a massive run. Little walked five batters and only managed to get one out. Kiers, on the other hand, never fell behind in the count and sat down seven batters on strikes. Kiers only allowed two total hits in four-and-two-thirds’ innings.
Meanwhile, en route to a fifth victory in six contests, the NMHS offense chalked up 17 unanswered tallies. Abby Hendricks popped a home run, highlighting a 3-for-4 performance that yielded seven RBI. Josie Patterson added four RBI in the leadoff spot. Karleigh Prose crossed the plate four times while going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a walk. North Mac scored two runs in the first, four in the second, four in the third and seven in the fourth.
In other action, Southwestern defeated Father McGivney, 6-1, at Glen Carbon Mar. 30, but stumbled at home against the top-ranked team in the Illinois High School Association’s 2A Class (according to Maxpreps). Rock Falls cruised to a 22-2 triumph and dropped the Birds to 3-3 overall.
Staunton came up empty-handed last week, losing three straight against Carrollton (6-2), Auburn (7-2) and Triad (11-7). The Bulldogs were 4-3 at the end of March.
Bunker Hill failed to make a 2-1 fourth inning advantage hold up and ran out of steam at Jerseyville Mar. 27. The Minutemaids lost, 5-2, and fell to 2-3 on the year.