ST. LOUIS — It was as much her glove as her bat that led to Highland's Mallory Rutz being chosen Most Valuable Player for the Illinois underclass squad in the 2014 Metro Amateur Softball Association's Illinois vs. Missouri All-Star game.
Rutz had an RBI single and turned a double play in the first inning for the Illinois All-Stars, who lost 9-5 Wednesday night at the Billiken Sports Complex.
The Missouri team expoloded for six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 7-1 victory over Illinois in the Senior All-Star Game.
Rutz fielded a hard-grounder to third base off the bat of Sarah Messex in the first inning. She got an out at third and then threw to first for the double play.
"That was a really good heads-up play,'' said Rutz, whose fielding gem helped limit the Missouri squad to only one run in the first inning.
Rutz, who led the metro-east in hitting with a .552 batting average during the high school season, plays for the Black Widows summer team.
"This is the first time I've done something like this,'' Rutz said. "A senior from my team (Cindy Schwaegel) got to do it last year, and I'm pretty honored that I got to do it this year.''
Edwardsille's Olivia Nichols was the MVP for Illinois in the Senior Game. Nichols had a solo homer in the first inning to account for the lone run for her squad in the game.
Nichols crushed the first ptich to her over the left field fence.
"I do not hit home runs too often, so it felt good,'' said Nichols, who said she had one homer during the high school season and one homer this summer for the Black Widows coming into the game. "It was where I like it -- middle to inside lowish -- and I just took it that way. That was very neat.''
Pitcher Maddie Krumrey, who threw four shutout innings, was the MVP for Missouri in the Senior Game.
Catcher Katelyn Massa, a junior-to-be at Eureka High School, was the MVP for the Missouri squad in the Underclass Game as she had a solo homer to tie the game at 5-5 in the sixth inning and two-run single during a three-run, go-ahead rally in the seventh inning.
Rutz's single came during a five-run, third-inning rally for the Illinois team.
Columbia's Rachel Garcia and Collinsville's Kassidy Smith led off the inning with singles and Edwardsville's Ari Arnold walked with one out.
Rutz then brought in Illinois' first run with a single.
"I had two strikes out me with the bases loaded, and I knew I had to do whatever I could to get a runner in,'' Rutz said. "She threw me a changeup outside, and I tried to go that way with it, but I ended up pulling it and putting it in the hole between third base and shortstop.''
Edwardsville's Kallen Loveless brought in a run with grounder to the shortstop and Edwardsville's Jordon Corby singled home two more runs.
The Tigers' Hayli Green, who also had a double off the left field fence, brought in a run with an infield single.
Edwardsville's Megan Radae capped the rally with a single.
Loveless, O'Fallon's Addison Barnouski and Wood River's Victoria Beachum handled the pitching chores for the Illinois squad during the eight innings.
Loveless and Barnouski each pitched two innings at the start of the game and then returned to pitch in the late innings.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.