New Athens falls short of making state tourney

June 3, 2014 

Special to the News-Democrat

DU QUOIN -- Jordan Lodge pitched a one-hit shutout and drove in the only run of the game in a 1-0 win over New Athens at the Du Quoin Class 1A softball super-sectional Tuesday to punch Trico's ticket to the IHSA State Finals for the first time in school history.

"It's great for our school, great for our community and better yet, it's great for our kids," said Trico coach Andrew Franklin.

The game was played a day late after Monday's rain had forced the postponement.

"This is what fast-pitch softball is supposed to be -- two pitchers that dominate the game and a low-run affair," said New Athens coach Conrad Widdersheim. "We got Abby's 'A' game, so being held to just one hit was a tough way to go."

Trico (32-3) goes to Peoria on a roll with a 25-game winning streak. The Lady Pioneers will play Amboy (22-9) from the Three Rivers Conference in northwest Illinois Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Lodge (24-2) and Abby Marlow (17-13) were locked in an old fashioned pitcher's duel taking a scoreless game into the bottom of the sixth inning.

"We knew Abby was going to be good coming in, but Jordan was just a couple pitches better," Franklin said. "Modg (Ashley Modglin) did a great job after 'Fred' (Jessica Prange) got a double to get her to third base. Jordan lifted a ball to the outfield and there was no way 'Fred' wasn't going to score."

Lodge had a no-hitter over the first six innings giving up just a lead off walk in the third while Marlow had hit Modglin in the first inning and gave up a pair of singles to Morgan Vogt and Prange in the third.

"I like pitching on clean rubbers -- they are easy to push off of," Lodge said. "I had gone 0-for-3 Saturday and was 0-for-2 today, so I just cleared my mind and hit it deep so she could tag up."

Prange led off the bottom of the sixth fisting Marlow's first pitch over the third base bag into the corner for a double. She advanced to third on a comebacker by Modglin to bring Lodge to the plate with one out.

"She knew that inside pitch is not my favorite pitch so she threw that to me," Prange said. "Hugging the plate wasn't helping getting her to hit me, so I got off the plate and drove it that way."

Lodge fell behind 1-2 in the count, but worked it full before hitting a high fly ball to medium center field.

"As soon as that pitch went up I went back to the bag and as soon as she caught it I went," Prange said. "I had a feeling I was going to be safe, but slid any ways."

Marlow broke up Lodge's no-hit bid with a double to lead off the seventh. Lodge struck out the next batter trying to bunt, but Ashley Rast laid down a perfect bunt to advance Marlow to third with two outs. Lodge then caught Courtnie Niederbrach looking to continue Trico's historic season.

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