Edwardsville and O'Fallon seem bound for a showdown

News-DemocratApril 19, 2014 

— Both the Edwardsville Tigers and the O'Fallon Panthers got through the first day of O'Fallon Softball Tournament without a loss, setting up a potential showdown for the championship.

The Tigers (13-2) went 3-0 in their three games Friday, outscoring their three opponents 35-9.

They beat (Piasa) Southwestern 15-1, Dupo 10-0 and Triad 10-8. They came back from an 7-6 deficit against Triad by scoring two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings.

"The pitching held up pretty good," said Edwardsville coach Lori Blade, whose squad plays Du Quoin at 10 a.m. Saturday before closing out the round-robin tourney against O'Fallon at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. "I know that one inning for (pitcher) Jen (Kocevar) was a tough one. We have a good defense behind her, but that was one inning where the defense couldn't do much with it either.

"We held off the storm. It was going to be a tough challenge for her because Triad has such good hitters. We found a way, and that's what today was about."

Olivia Nicholls led the Tigers' hit parade by going 7-for-9 with a homer, two doubles and five RBIs on the day.

"She hit the ball well today, which was great to see," Blade said. "They are capable of doing that up and down the lineup. One through nine, the kids are capable of hitting.

"Fortunately, we have taken turns and everything has worked out for us."

Nicholls drove in two insurance runs with a single in the top of the seventh against Triad.

"Triad was the home team, so we definitely needed more insurance runs," Nicholls said. "I had a feeling she was going to try to get me outside, and I just waited on it and tried to drive it that way."

The Panthers (14-5) edged Triad 1-0 in their opener behind a five-hit from pitcher Addison Barnouski.

The Panthers scored their run in the on singles by Becca Proper, Taylor Underwood and Molly Dumstorff.

The Panthers also beat Southwestern 10-3 and Du Quoin 4-1.

The Panthers got a big scare against Du Quoin when Barnouski was hit in the chest by a line drive in the sixth inning.

Barnouski crumbled to the ground.

"I saw it coming right at me, but I couldn't get the glove there," Barnouski said. "Right when it hit me, I couldn't breath. Then I was in shock. Then I started breathing better."

After about five anxious minutes, Barnouski walked off the field.

"Probably the scariest moment I've had as a coach," O'Fallon coach Kelly Paproth said. "I am very blessed and thankful that everything turned out OK. I'll be saying an extra prayer of thanks tonight that she is OK."

Barnouski said she was feeling a lot better after the game.

Alex Lloyd replaced Barnouski and picked up the save by finishing out the game.

The Panthers scored three of their runs in the fourth with Taylor Dichsen delivering the key blow with a two-run double.

"I told them before the third game that this game was going to go to whoever stayed focused," Paproth said. "Three games in a row is a lot to handle and a lot to ask them to stay focused on throughout the whole day, but they did.

"I couldn't be prouder of them."

It was a tough day for the Knights, who had three close contests. They also turned back Du Quoin 6-5.

"I think we had five or six errors in that game, and that really helped them," Triad coach Kris Kleeman said of the loss to Edwardsville. "We play really well in some innings and we don't play well in others. That's that inconsistency thing I've been talking about."

The Knights (7-5) trailed 6-0 against Edwardsville before getting back-to-back, two-run doubles from Avery Myers and Beth Mesigner during a six-run, third-inning rally that tied the score at 6-6.

They went up 7-6 on a solo homer by Abby Burroughs, who went 3-for-3 in the game, in the fourth.

"Offensively, we can get around the bases, that's not an issue," Kleeman said. "It's just defensively we make mistakes. It'll come together. We haven't bee able to play a lot of games."

The Dupo Tigers (14-4) pulled out a 5-4 win over Du Quoin in eight innings.

The score was tied at 1-1 after seven innings, so they went to the international tie-breaker rule with a runner on second for each team to start the eighth.

Du Quoin scored three runs in the top half of the eighth, but Dupo answered with four runs in the bottom half.

Alyssa Stubbard had a two-run triple and then scored the tying run on a squeeze bunt by Skylure Barlow.

Taylor Esmon drove in the winning run with an infield single.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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