Except for one runner who reached on an error, Dupo's Jessica Stanch and Belleville West's Paige Cates were perfect through three innings.
But by the time the Maroons got back to the top of the batting order, they had Stansch timed and measured. West scratched out a run in the fourth inning then erupted for five in the fifth on its way to an eventual 9-3 win.
The victory was the second straight for the Maroons (9-12) who had lost three in a row before knocking off Althoff on Wednesday.
"This is probably the most proud I've been of this team all year," said West head coach Casey Garrett. "We had a few defensive blunders in that one inning, but pulled it back together and played what I think was a really good game.”
Never miss a local story.
Junior Kiri Evans had three hits, including a double and triple, drove in three runs and scored two more for West. Senior Olivia Young took another step toward her school's single season home run record with her seventh of the season, a two-run blast in the sixth. She needs seven more to break the record she already shares with Jenny Klotz.
Cates was inside and out, up and down, changed her speed ... She made it a long day for us.
Greg Pennock, Dupo coach on West sophomore pitcher Paige Cates
The Maroons pounded out 10 hits in all.
"If you get the ball up belt high, you're going to find out really quick how good that team can hit and that's what Jessica experienced," said Dupo coach Greg Pennock. "West plays a better schedule than we do — we don't see Belleville East or Edwardsville like they have to. They see good pitching every day and they adjusted to it."
Cates, a sophomore, said Saturday's win was the best she's pitched in her high school career. Her defense let her down by allowing three unearned runs in the fifth inning. Otherwise, she allowed just four hits — three of them on bunts — while striking out 10. She walked two batters, both in the sixth.
"I always just try to go inside and outside. I rely on my screw ball and curve ball to throw batters off," she said. "A lot depends on my infielders. I rely on them to get the outs for me."
Evans broke up Stansch's perfect game with a lead-off double in the fourth and later scored on a ground out by Young.
The Maroons widened the lead with five in the top of the fifth. Freshman catcher Aleigha Cory doubled home Allyson Winkleman, then scored behind Daisha Price on a two-run single from Evans. Megan Glaeser walked, then Morgan Hinkle cleared the bases with her second hit of the day.
But the Tigers cut the lead in half, 6-3, in their half of the inning thanks in part to West defensive miscues.
This is probably the most proud I've been of this team all year. We had a few defensive blunders in that one inning, but pulled it back together and played what I think was a really good game.
Casey Garrett, Belleville West softball coach
Skylure Barlow led off with a bunt single and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Savannah Maldonado, who also reached with a bunt, scored on an error at first base. Pinch hitter Stormy Sellers reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on a dropped third strike and late throw to first.
The Maroons got the runs back, however, when Price doubled and scored on Evans' triple. Evans was thrown out at the plate on a ground ball from Glaeser, but Young pulled the very next pitch over the fence in right-center field.
Cates struck out the top three in the batting order to close out the win.
"Cates was inside and out, up and down, changed her speed ... She made it a long day for us," Pennock said.
For West, Evans finished a home run shy of the cycle; Young had three RBIs on one hit; Hinkle had two hits and two RBIs; and Price finished with two hits and two runs scored.
For Dupo, Alyssa Strubberg, Barlow and Maldenado each had bunt singles. Cameron Foster singled hard up the middle.
Dupo (9-3) was scheduled to play O'Fallon Tuesday, but that game has been cancelled. The Tigers will travel to Marissa Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
The Maroons are at Granite City for a 4:30 p.m. game Tuesday and at home against Nashville Wednesday.