COLLINSVILLE — A week that started out on a sour note for the Belleville West Maroons ended on a much sweeter one.
The Maroons banged out 15 hits, including a three-run homer by Olivia Young, in beating the Collinsville Kahoks 8-2 on Thursday in a Southwestern Conference softball game.
The win marked a quantum leap forward for the Maroons during a three-day span that saw them routed 19-0 by Belleville East on Tuesday and then beat Althoff 9-2 on Wednesday.
"We came and played all seven innings today,'' West coach Casey Garrett said. "I told the girls that I was very proud of them. We hit up and down the lineup, we played how we can play.
"It's a good way to end the week. We're going to have solid practices tomorrow and Saturday and hopefully start off next week the same way.''
The Maroons, who improved to 7-7 overall, 4-2 in the SWC, will play at Alton on Monday and then get a rematch with the Kahoks on Tuesday.
The Kahoks dropped to 10-8 overall, 1-4 in the SWC.
"You start out down five, it's pretty hard to recover,'' Collinsville coach Cindy Kolda said. "I think we hit the ball pretty well today, but the hits didn't fall. It's probably the best defensive game we've played all year, so I can't complain about that.''
The Maroons have had a habit of falling behind early in games, but not against the Kahoks.
Young's homer highlighted a five-run, first-inning outburst by the Maroons.
"We've come out flat the last I don't know how many games and we talked about getting ourselves pumped up,'' Garrett said. "I said that you have to be able to do that individually, and they did it.''
Kiri Evans was hit by a pitch leading off the game. Evans moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Emily Fulton and scored on a double to center field.
Hannah Biermann drew a two-out walk to bring up Young, who hit a drive into right-center field.
The ball hit off the top of the fence and went over.
"It was a little bit confusing,'' said Young, who didn't know she'd gotten a home run until the home-plate umpire signalled the ball had gone over the fence.
It was bad break for the Kahoks.
"It normally doesn't (bounce) that way,'' Kolda said. "It bounced off the top of the fence and went over.''
The Maroons got another run as Juanda Eisemann doubled and Hannah Slimack followed with an RBI single.
The Kahoks got a run in the first as Becky Gibbs led off with a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kassidy Smith.
The Maroons tacked on insurance runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Danielle Touchette had an RBI single in the fourth, Slimack tripled and scored on a groundout by Evans in the fifth and Biermann had an RBI triple in the sixth.
Collinsville got its other run in the fourth on an RBI single by Alex Holten.
Touchette, Biermann and Slimack all had three hits for the Maroons.
West pitcher McKenzie Sisk allowed only four hits.
"I felt like we really came together as a team in this game, especially after the loss the other day,'' Young said. "I feel like we turned it around pretty well.''
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.