EDWARDSVILLE — One pitch. One swing.
That's all it took in the home half of the seventh inning for the Edwardsville Tigers to prevail victoriously on Thursday at the District 7 Sports Complex.
Senior Hayli Green deposited the first pitch she saw in the seventh over the center field fence to give the Tigers a 4-3 walk-off win over the rival O'Fallon Panthers.
With the win EHS improved to 11-2 overall and 5-0 in the Southwestern Conference. It was the eighth straight victory for the red-hot Tigers. O'Fallon dipped to 8-4 and 3-3 with the loss.
“They're a tough team and I knew I had to come in clutch for my team, so I'm glad I could help on the first pitch and do that,” Green said. “I was running for a double or a triple maybe, but as I was rounding first I saw it land over the fence and I just got very excited. I saw my team at home and I was glad I could come through clutch.”
Green was due after going 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts and a sac bunt in her first three plate appearances against Panthers' ace Addison Barnouski.
“She had battled her first at bats,” EHS head coach Lori Blade said. “The first one she really struggled chasing an up pitch, but she got a good pitch to drive and got a hold of it.”
It was a tough-luck loss for O'Fallon, which got a good outing from Barnouski, but was hampered by shaky defense. The Panthers committed five errors in the game.
“I was really proud of her pitching performance,” said O'Fallon head coach Kelly Paproth. “Her and catcher (Ginger Huskey) did a great job, but we unfortunately didn't play the best defense behind her. We had quite a few errors and that's not like us. We want to play team defense. I was happy with what we were doing at the plate and we'll learn from it and come back next time.”
Barnouski scattered nine hits over six innings, fanning six, walking two and allowing four runs, three earned.
Blade was equally impressed with the work of her winning pitcher Jordan Garella. She worked seven innings, striking out two, walking one and surrendering three runs, all earned, on nine hits.
“I thought Jordan threw pretty good and I thought our defense was pretty good overall,” Blade said. “We didn't really boot anything and we were pretty solid. Overall we're getting better and that's what I like to see.”
The Panthers struck first on Thursday. Allison Underwood reached on a two-out fielder's choice and then Barnouski helped herself with a triple to deep right field to stake O'Fallon to a 1-0 lead.
Edwardsville finally responded in the third. Jordan Corby sparked things, reaching on an error to start the inning. After being sacrificed to second by Green, Rachel Anderson sprayed a RBI single to left field. The left fielder bobbled it and made an errant throw to the infield, letting Anderson advance to third on the play.
Anderson then scored on Sarah Hangsleben's double to right field to propel the Tigers on top 2-1.
The seesaw battle continued, as Barnouski helped herself again in the fifth, scoring Underwood with a RBI double to knot it at 2-2.
EHS leap frogged back in front in the bottom of the fifth. Anderson led off with a base knock and Hangsleben followed with a single to right. Another O'Fallon miscue let Anderson motor around and score and make it 3-2, but Hangsleben was gunned down at third trying to stretch it. Allison Loehr was later thrown out at the plate to end the inning trying to score an insurance run.
The Panthers made it interesting by scoring again in the top of the seventh to tie it at 3-3, which set up Green's heroics in the bottom of the seventh.
The win kept the Tigers in the driver's seat in the SWC, a game ahead of Alton. Thursday concluded a big week in league play for EHS, which walloped Belleville East 14-1 on Tuesday.
“We had a big week this week with Belleville East and O'Fallon and I'm really glad our team could come through and get both wins and even though this one was close, we fought through the whole game and I'm glad in the end I could be the one to get the last run across,” said Green.
Blade added, “Coming into this season I would have put O'Fallon and Alton in the top two (of the SWC). We knew this was going to be a tough game with Barnouski coming back. I think she's one of the best pitchers in the conference. We're just getting timely hitting and getting better defensively and things have gone our way so far.”
The Tigers now head to Rochester for a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
EDWARDSVILLE 4, O'FALLON 3
Panthers 100 010 1 — 3 9 5
Tigers 002 010 1 — 4 9 0
Edwardsville (11-2, 5-0) — Jordan Corby 1-4 2B, Hayli Green 1-3 HR SAC RBI, Rachel Anderson 3-3 2B RBI, Sarah Hangsleben 2-2 2B BB RBI, Anna Burke 0-2 BB, Allison Loehr 1-3, Emma Lewis 1-3.
WP — Jordan Garella 7.0IP 9H 3R 3ER 1BB 2K
O'Fallon (8-4, 3-3) — Ginger Huskey 1-2 BB SAC, Jordan DeRemer 1-4, Allison Underwood 2-3 RBI, Addison Barnouski 2-4 2B 3B 2 RBIs, Courtney Keller 1-3 2B, Nikole Patterson 1-3, Cassie Brown 1-3.
LP — Barnouski 6.0IP 9H 4R 3ER 2BB 6K