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Marissa, Mater Dei are region’s last small school hope for state softball championships

The formula for success may be different but so far in the 2019 softball postseason, the Marissa Meteors and Mater Dei Knights have found a way to keep their state tournament dreams alive.

The last two metro-east area class 1A and Class 2A teams still standing after winning regional tournaments last week, the Meteors and Knights continue their postseason journey at sectional tournaments at Farina (South Central) and Newton High Schools

Fresh off a 3-0 win over Cahokia Conference rival New Athens at the Class 1A New Athens Regional last week, Marissa (16-5) will take on Bridgeport Red Hill (11-11) in the second of two semifinals on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Centralia Christ our Rock Lutheran (15-5) is playing Oblong (15-9) in the other semifinal on Tuesday.

The title game is set for Saturday at 11 a.m. with the winner advancing to the Johnston City Super-Sectional on May 27 at 11 a.m.

Mater Dei (16-5), which scored 27 runs in two wins at the Carlyle Regional, including a 12-3 win over Wesclin on Saturday, will take on Arthur (24-6) at the Newton Sectional at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Teutopolis (11-10) will take on Mount Carmel (9-13) in the other semifinal at 6:30 p,m. with the winners playing for the sectional title on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Class 2A super-sectional is set for Johnson City on Monday, May 27 at 2 p.m.

Following is a brief look at some of the top players for the Marissa Meteors and Mater Dei Knights heading into sectional competition.

Marissa Meteors

Isabella Combs (12-2, 2.28) is the ace of the Marissa staff which allowed only three runs in wins over Lebanon (4-3) and New Athens (3-0) in winning a regional title last week. Combs has allowed only 74 hits in 83 innings with 68 strike outs. Combs also leads Marissa in hitting (.409) with 17 RBI. Casey Daugherty (.345), Grace Middendorf (,.322) and Hailey Krause (.328) are also top offensive threats for Marissa

Mater Dei

Led by ‘18 News-Democrat Class 1A-2A Player of the Year Hayley Palm, the Knights are loaded with offense. Palm leads the way, hitting .385 with 6 home runs and 25 RBI. Also with plenty of pop in their bats are Abby Braundmeier (.477, 3 home runs, 20 RBI) and Kellene Englehart (.376, 3 home runs, 22 RBI) while freshman Ella Palm (.366, 2 home runs, 19 RBI) is destined to be the Knights leader for the next three years. Hayley Palm is also the ace of the Knights staff. Currently 10-6 with a 2.08 ERA, Palm has 176 strike outs in 110 innings.