BELLEVILLE — The games are usually closely contested in this city rivalry, but this time the Belleville East Lancers turned their matchup against Belleville West into a hitting derby.
Andrea Roberts triggered the onslaught with a grand slam in the first inning and Alison Mitts added two homers as the Lancers shelled the Maroons 19-0 Tuesday in a surprisingly lopsided Southwestern Conference softball game.
The Lancers collected 18 hits off three different Belleville West pitchers in the five-ininng game.
"It's rare when you have a day like today when all of our hitters are seeing the ball and just hitting it right on the money," East coach Natalie Peters said. "These games like this are few and far between. I don't think this has ever happened against Belleville West, so in no way, shape or form do we expect this next time. We have to stay working hard all the time."
Roberts went 3-for-4 with a career-high seven RBIs in the game. The Eastern Illinois recruit narrowly missed a second homer in the fourth inning as her drive to center field dented the protective yellow piping at the top of the fence before caroming back into play.
Roberts said the grand slam was the first over-the-fence homer of her high school career. She's had a few inside-the-park homers.
"I finally hit one over the fence," Roberts said. "At Collinsville, I always hit it to the 220 fence. At O'Fallon, I hit one foul over the fence. Everything else has been inside-the-park. I'm more of a line-drive hitter than a home-run hitter. I'm OK with that. I'm OK with line-drive hitting because if you try to hit home runs, you pop out."
Mitts also is known as a line-drive hitter. She went 4-for-5 with a double, two homers and five RBIs.
"Allison definitely is a line-drive hitter and that's what we teach her to do," Peters said. "We tell them, 'If you go up there trying to get line drives, then the big hits will come.' She has worked really hard in the (batting) cages the last couple of days. She works just as hard on her hitting as she does on her pitching."
Mitts had a solo homer in the second inning and a three-run homer in the fourth inning for her first two-homer game.
"One is kind of cool," Mitts said. "Two is a little much. The first one I hit out, she just hung right down the middle, and the other one I saw really well."
Both Roberts and Mitts credited their teammates for their big days at the plate.
"The score wouldn't been so big if we didn't have people on when we had those hits," Mitts said. "It was definitely a team thing, not just us."
Mitts finished with a two-hitter on the mound. She struck out two and walked one.
Hannah Slimack and Danielle Touchette hit back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth to account for all of the Maroons' hits.
The Lancers improved 16-3 overall, 3-1 in the SWC. They've won seven straight games.
The Maroons fell to 5-7 overall, 3-2 in the SWC. They've lost four of their last five games.
"They took advantage of our pitchers not pitching their games," West coach Casey Garrett said. "They put on a hitting clinic. They put on a great demonstration of how to hit. They did a great job."
The Maroons have no time to feel sorry for themselves. They have road games against Althoff on Wednesday and Collinsville on Thursday.
"I hope so," Garrett said of the Maroons learning from the loss. "We've come the last I don't how many games flat and not ready to play and we showed it again today. We just weren't ready and focused to play this game."
Mitts, Erinn Henry and Haley Wroten all singled to load the bases for Roberts in the first inning.
Roberts sent a 1-1 offering from West starter Bethany Dain over the fence in center field.
The Lancers pushed across another run in the first inning on an RBI double by Haley Gegelman.
The Lancers got two runs in the second inning on Mitts' homer and a RBI single by Lindsey Mossman.
In the fourth inning, the Lancers scored 10 runs on eight hits. They sent 14 batters to the plate in the inning.
Both Roberts and Wroten, who went 4-for-5 in the game, had two hits in the inning.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.