Edwardsville pitcher Kallen Loveless continued her mastery over Belleville East's hitters.
Loveless threw a one-hit shutout as the Tigers beat the Lancers 6-0 Tuesday in the Class 4A O'Fallon Softball Sectional.
Sophomores Jordan Corby and Hayli Green both hit solo homers and sophomore Rachel Anderson had a two-run triple for the Tigers, who banged out eight hits in the game.
Loveless allowed only one run -- and it was unearned -- in three games against the Lancers this season.
"She's done a phenomenal job all three times," Edwardsville coach Lori Blade said. "I don't know how she has done it, but she has. The defense has played well behind her, but she's made the pitches when she has needed to. To shut them out is huge.
"Belleville East is the top traditional program around, and to beat them three times in a year, I'm proud of the kids' effort to do that."
Loveless struck out five and walked one.
The lone hit for the Lancers was a single on a grounder by Andrea Roberts that bounced over the third baseman.
"I was just keeping the ball on the corner or off the plate," Loveless said. "I wasn't giving them anything to barrel up. I was just making them chase my pitches once I got ahead."
Loveless also was the winning pitcher in the Tigers' 8-0 win over the Lancers on April 10 and 3-1 win over the Lancers on May 6.
"We weren't able to get anything going against her all year," East coach Natalie Peters said. "Edwardsville deserves this. They beat us today like they did the other two times. They're a great team."
The Tigers (35-3) will play the Normal Community Ironmen (30-7) at 11 a.m. Saturday at the O'Fallon City Park in the championship game of the O'Fallon Sectional.
The Ironmen beat Moline 12-2 in five innings on Tuesday in the other sectional semifinal game.
The Lancers ended their season at 28-10. They'll lose nine seniors, including pitcher Alison Mitts, to graduation.
"It's definitely emotional," Peters said of saying good bye to so many seniors. "I just want to say that they've really given their hearts to this program. I told them that they need to hold their heads high because we went a long time without being able to win a regional there. I think they were able to turn the competitive edge of Lancer softball. For their junior and senior seasons to win 58 games, my hat's off them to them. They were awesome for us."
Mitts struck out the first five Edwardsville batters and cruised into the third inning before Katelyn Bobrowski hit a ball just foul over the fence in left field to start the third inning.
Bobrowski shook off the bad break and singled to right field.
Olivia Nicholls hit into a force play at second base and Anna Walshleger walked.
Corby bunted the runners to second and third. Anderson brought both of them home with a triple.
"I thought it was gone," Blade said of Anderson's drive to deep left field. "That thing like hit a wall and dropped. But, she hit it hard."
Loveless followed with a single to score Anderson.
With two outs in the fifth, Corby sent a 1-0 offering from Mitts over the fence in left center.
Anderson then reached on an error and scored on a double by Loveless to put the Tigers up 5-0.
The Tigers added another run when Green led off the sixth inning with a homer to center field off.
The Lancers were unable to muster any offense off Loveless. They had only two base runners in the game.
"You can't really win a game on one hit, so it doesn't really matter what we did pitching or on defense," Peters said. "I thought we had some good contact early in the game, and Edwardsville plays good defense. I think we had four or five players thrown out by one step. They make the plays. That's what makes them such a great team. They have good pitching, and they have the great defense behind her."
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.