Prep Baseball & Softball

Resilient Edwardsville softball rallies past Belleville West

Sophomore Maria Smith singled in Lauren Taplin with nobody out in the bottom of the 11th, as Edwardsville capped a day of comebacks with a 6-5 win over Belleville West in a Southwestern Conference softball game.

Edwardsville (3-2, 2-0) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to force extra innings, then scored twice with two outs to tie the game again after the Maroons had taken a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th.

"We kept battling all day. I was very pleased at how resilient we were today,'' Tigers coach Lori Blade said. "We were able to get a couple of big hits when we needed them."

None of the hits were bigger than a two-out double in the 10th inning by senior Brooke Webber that scored Lauren Tripp and Lexi Gorniak.

First year Maroons coach Brian Geluck then replaced starting pitcher Paige Cates with reliever Mackenzie Skaer, who gave up Smith's game winning hit.

"Paige pitched a great game. I asked her a couple of times how she felt, and she kept telling me she was fine. She was a warrior out there for us tonight. She didn't want to come out,'' Geluck said. "But after the 10th inning and with her pitch count, I wasn't going to take any chances. It's early in the season, and we still have a long way to go.''

West struck first against Edwardsville starting pitcher Jordyn Henricks. With one out in the third inning, Claire Marlen singled, and one out later, Aleigha Cory walked. Cleanup hitter Emily Twellman then took a 2-1 pitch from Henricks over the right-center field fence for a home run and a 3-0 lead for the Maroons.

Limited to just one hit through the first four innings, Edwardsville tied the game in the fifth as Lauren Taplin, Anna Burke and Smith all drove in runs.

The game was still tied at 3 when the Maroons scored twice in the top of the 10th to take the lead. Taylor Geluck led off with a double and went to third base when Abi Gibson reached on an error. Geluck then scored, and Cory made if 5-3 with an RBI single.

West had a chance to take the lead in the top of the 11th. Hailey Dunn led off with a double and advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt. But Dunn was left stranded on third base when Brian Geluck opted not to send her following a fly ball to center field by Taylor Geluck.

"It was a tough call. Maybe I should have sent her. But you don't want to get thrown out at the plate in that situation either,'' Geluck said.

"We had some chances, and I thought we hit the ball very hard a few times, but right at their players."