Photos from the East-West softball game
Celebrating her 18th birthday Tuesday, Belleville East senior Alyssa Krausz knew better than to try and hit a home run against city rival Belleville West.
Instead, the Lancers power hitting third baseman let her natural ability take over. And that was more than enough on a chilly, rainy day at Belleville West High School.
Krausz hit a pair of home runs as part of a perfect 4-for-4 performance at the plate as the sizzling Lancers ran their winning streak to nine with a 13-1 win over Belleville West.
Struggling with a 4-11 record following a 10-7 loss to Edwardsville on April 12, the Lancers have been the hottest team in the metro east in the last 12 days. Taking on a Maroons squad which they lost 9-6 to in March, the Lancers wasted little time in taking the lead against Maroons starter Madison Zirkelbach on Tuesday.
Zirkelbach issued a bases-loaded walk to Lexi Williams to force in the first run in the top of the first inning and when East starting pitcher Stephanie Bigham came through with a two-run single, East had a 3-0 lead.
One inning later., Krausz hit the first of her two home runs to make the score 5-0.
“One of my teammates mentioned to me before the game that it being my birthday, that I should try and hit a home run. That never works for me. When I try and hit a home run, I usually pop up and make an out,’’ Krausz said with a smile. “I just tried to make a good swing and make solid contact.’’
Krausz added a solo home run in the fifth to close out the Lancers’ scoring. The game was halted after five innings by the 10-run rule.
With freshman Kylee Crowder keying a big fourth inning with an RBI single in the fourth, the Lancers (13-11) put the game away with a five-run outburst to increase the lead to 10-0. Crowder also added four hits as part of a 15-hit Lancers offensive attack.
The 13-run outburst marked the sixth time during its nine-game winning streak that East has scored 10 or more runs.
“I thought the girls were really disciplined at the plate today. I thought we showed a lot of maturity,’’ East coach Natalie Peters said. “Coming into this season we knew that we had lost a lot of really great seniors from last year and that we were playing some great teams early.
“We just tried to keep telling the girls to keep learning, keep growing and try to keep getting better every day. They’ve done that and are doing a really great job.’’
Bigham, who added three hits and four RBIs to the Lancers’ cause, was in complete control on the mound. The Maroons, who committed three errors, were never a factor on this night.
“They (East) came out ready to play. They were putting the bat on the ball, hitting the gaps and we made a few errors which really hurt us,’’ West first-year coach Phillip Neal said. “We hit the ball hard right at people a few times. We had some chances early that we didn’t take advantage of and we fell behind. That hurts.’’