Lenihan, Bunker Hill off to fast start in Prairie State race
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
In her first season as the Carlinville High School softball coach, Julie Gibson is being backed by a surging core of Cavaliers.
Her two daughters, Hannah and Hallie, have owned the pitching ring, and a tightly-knitted lineup is producing in the batter’s box, on the basepaths and in the field.
Carlinville came into the season with high expectations and has suddenly hit its stride with the heat turning up.
The Cavaliers are on a seven-game winning streak, triumphant 11 times in 14 games and have willed themselves into the early running for a South Central Conference crown.
Carlinville started off last week with three consecutive shutouts. The Cavaliers shut down Greenville (8-0) Apr. 11 and East Alton-Wood River (8-0) Apr. 12 on the road, then blasted Hillsboro 10-0 in a shortened home game Apr. 14.
The Cavaliers originally weren’t scheduled to play over the weekend, but their athletic director Darrin DeNeve landed them an Apr. 15 contest at Rochester. Carlinville didn’t disappoint and took full advantage of the opportunity. Han. Gibson went 2-for-2 with a homer, a base hit and a walk while scoring three runs in a 9-1 win. This was additionally the second day in a row that a Cavalier had knocked one over the fence. Olivia Kunz unloaded on a long ball the previous afternoon against
Hal. Gibson earned the victory against EAWR, tossing a two-hit shutout that included ten punchouts. Braley Wiser led all Cavaliers in hits with four in that game. The freshman also beat Rochester later in the week.
Gillespie capped off another perfect week with a 7-1 drubbing of its arch-rival Staunton in enemy territory Apr. 14.
The Miners, rolling in following two victories at Vandalia (11-4) Apr. 11 and O’Fallon (6-3) Apr. 13, completed a flawless road tour behind the arm and bat of Emma Gipson.
Gipson plated two runs, which would be all she would need in a three-hit nine-strikout complete game.
Ava Parish, Regan Bussmann and Paxton Reid all provided insurance with RBI productions of their own. Parish was additionally a thief on the basepaths, swiping three bags.
Gillespie, which returned home and beat Centralia, 4-0, Apr. 15, is 10-1 and 3-0 in the SCC.
Staunton, which beat Pana 14-9 Apr. 11 and lost to Freeburg 9-0 Apr. 15, sits at 8-5 overall (2-1 SCC).
The Bunker Hill Minutemaids beat Father McGivney twice in Prairie State play Apr. 11 and Apr. 13.
Lauren Lenihan lasted the full seven both days, with 20 strikeouts in game one then 16 over the course of a four-hit shutout.
The 4-1 and 3-0 victories boosted Bunker Hill to 6-2 on the year. Additionally, the Maids are one of the early frontrunners in the Prairie State race.
Bunker Hill is 4-0 in the conference thus far.
In other action, Southwestern split four games. The Piasa Birds picked up a 4-1 conference win at Litchfield Apr. 11, then lost to Quincy Notre Dame 12-3 Apr. 13 and Vandalia (conference) 12-11 Apr. 14 in Piasa. Southwestern defeated Metro-East Lutheran 11-7 to end the week Apr. 15.
North Mac lost its six-game winning streak to Hillsboro in a stunning 3-2 conference defeat Apr. 11, but shook the rust over the next couple of days and got back on track with a 10-0 home victory over Litchfield Apr. 14. The Panthers are 10-2 overall and 3-1 in the SCC.