BETHALTO – Meghan Schorman wanted the Marquette Catholic Explorers to rise to their finest Tuesday in the Class 3A Civic Memorial Softball Regional.
They did, and Schorman emerged as sharp as possible. The freshman right-hander spun a four-hitter to guide the Explorers by the Knights, 3-0, in a regional semifinal. Marquette, now 22-13, will play 21-9 Highland at 11 a.m. Saturday for the CM championship.
The Bulldogs eliminated Jersey, 14-1, in five innings during the night’s first semifinal. Triad, meanwhile, bowed out at 19-13.
“I think that was probably our best game of the season,” said Schorman, who improved to 18-11. Her smooth work enabled the Explorers to snap a five-game skid and get another opportunity at Highland, which defeated Marquette 9-6 on April 6.
Marquette coach Dan Wiedman noted, “Highland has a good hitting team up and down the lineup. So we have to play again the way we played tonight.”
The Explorers made the most of seven hits and played flawlessly behind Schorman, who struck out five and walked two for the third-seeded Explorers. Triad was seeded second.
“Meghan threw a heck of game. It was one of her best games of the season,” Wiedman said.
Triad coach Kris Kleeman seconded that notion.
“She’s a nice little pitcher and did a good job of keeping us off-balance," she said. "They are one of the few teams that pitched us inside. We usually have hit the ball pretty well, but not today.”
Miranda Schroeder delivered a two-run single in the fifth to put Schorman in a comfort zone. Emma Taylor doubled in the third and scored on Tess Eberlin’s two-out single.
“That’s my biggest hit of the year,” Schroeder said. “I just wanted to do it for the team. We played with a lot of confidence today. I thought that team-wise, if was one of our better games.”
Wiedman said, “That was a huge hit for Miranda and I’m sure it was a big confidence booster.”
Schorman's confidence bubbled with every out.
"I really wanted to win this game for our team and it felt great to win," she said. "We knew we had to hit and we did that. Our defense was great and Megan Wittich made some really good plays at third base.”
And Schorman kept on going and throwing strikes. She pitched around two Triad singles in the fifth and finished with a flourish in retiring the final seven batters.
“I just kept pitching like it was a 0-0 game,” Schorman said. “It didn’t matter whether it was 1-0 or 3-0.”
Defense also proved to be a big part of the final. Triad made three errors and Kari Sarhage, saddled with the loss, allowed just one earned run.
“You have two comparable teams and they got some timely hits and didn’t make any errors,” Kleeman said of the Explorers. “If we keep at it 1-0, we might have been able to do some things differently. But they tacked on two unearned runs.”
Wiedman figured the Explorers were due for some good vibrations. Once 19-4, Marquette lost 9 of 11 games before turning on Triad.
“This is the kind of a game we’ve been waiting for all season,” Wiedman said. “We played as a team and I could tell they really wanted to win this game. Meghan was mentally tough out there.”
Wiedman hopes the Explorers are just as prepared for their rematch with Highland. The winner advances to next week’s Mascoutah Sectional.
“When we played them earlier in the season it was a good game,” Wiedman said. “We had them down, then we sort of fell apart.”
CLASS 3A CM REGIONAL
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 3, TRIAD 0
Marquette 000 120 0 – 3 7 0
Triad 000 000 0 – 0 4 3
Marquette (22-13) – Tess Eberlin 1-3 RBI, Sam Harshbarger 1-3, Grace Frost 1-4 2B, Kalie Buecker 1-4 2B, Miranda Schroeder 1-3 RBI-2, Megan McClard 1-3, Carly Schaber 1-3 2B. WP – Meghan Schorman IP-7 H-4 R-0 BB-2 K-5
Triad (19-13) – Abby Burroughs 1-3, Beth Mersinger 1-3, Megan Schmiskie 1-3, Hannah Cotton 1-2. LP – Kari Sarhage IP-7 H-7 R-3 ER-1 BB-4 K-4