Miners clinch SCC with win, Cavaliers’ loss to Southwestern
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The rivalry between Gillespie and Carlinville is back on for high school softball.
The Miners and Cavaliers traded victories in a rare back-to-back last week.
Gillespie won the all-important conference head-to-head but it certainly didn’t come easy. The Miners overcame an early 3-1 deficit, then barely escaped with a 6-4 victory after stranding the bases full of Cavaliers in the top of the seventh.
With Lauren Bertagnolli out for the season with a broken hand, someone had to keep filling the void for Michelle Smith at the top of the order. Ava Parish, as she had already done on several occasions, responded to the challenge. The freshman went 3-for-3 and scored three of the six GHS runs.
Emma Gipson didn’t have her best pitching performance. Nevertheless, she took the win after shutting down Carlinville’s rally by inducing a game-ending pop fly. Gipson had a pair of walks and 10 strikeouts while allowing two earned runs on eight hits. Offensively, the junior grinded out a trio of knocks and plated three tallies.
Isabella Tiburzi had two hits and Karly Tipps crossed the plate twice for Carlinville, which entered the Apr. 25 contest at Gillespie on an 11-game winning streak.
The Miners remained without a South Central Conference loss in nearly three years, winning their 24th consecutive SCC contest.
Carlinville earned some redemption in a non-league rematch at Loveless Park Apr. 26. The Cavaliers played an error-free game defensively behind Hannah Gibson and pummeled the Miners, 6-0. Carlinville limited the Gillespie offense to just four hits as Gibson went the distance on the rubber. With Gipson resting for the Miners, the Cavaliers drew first blood with a single tally in the bottom of the second, then ambushed Paxton Reid with five fifth inning runs to remove all doubt.
Gillespie quickly re-kindled its winning fire and went on to clinch the conference crown Apr. 28.
While the Miners improved to 7-0 in SCC play by beating Pana, 6-2, Carlinville lost to Southwestern, 10-7, after a rally from a seven-run deficit fell short. Josie Hagen, Madi Fenstermaker and Ella Kadell all contributed multiple RBI for the Birds. Addison Ruyle and Braley Wiser each had three hits for the Cavaliers.
Gillespie sits at 17-3 overall.
Carlinville, which endured a second consecutive defeat at Athens (11-8) May 1, is 16-6 and 6-2 in the SCC.
Southwestern, 5-2 in the league, is 13-10 following a 9-3 Apr. 29 loss at Calhoun.
Bunker Hill is in contention for the Gateway Metro title coming down the final stretch of the season. The Minutemaids have won all five of their league games to this point and 12 of 17 overall.
Staunton strung together three consecutive lopsided victories, with the most recent one being a 13-1 drubbing of North Mac Apr. 27. The Bulldogs (13-7 overall; 5-3 SCC) previously conquered Hillsboro 15-2 Apr. 25 and North Greene 19-4 Apr. 26.
After getting off to a hot start this season, North Mac has hit a bump in the road. The Panthers, which lost 3-2 at Southwestern prior to the Staunton blowout, are 11-6 on the year and 4-4 in SCC play. North Mac is currently on a four-game losing streak.