EDWARDSVILLE — Edwardsville Tiger second basemen Jordan Corby clinched the Class 4A Edwardsville Regional title with a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday at the District 7 Sports Complex.
The slam gave Edwardsville a 7-3 lead, which ultimately became the final score. The Tigers improved to 28-5 with the win. They advance to the Normal Community Sectional semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday vs. O'Fallon. The game will be played at the Collinsville Sports Complex. The Panthers topped Alton 3-2 in the finals of the Collinsville Regional on Saturday.
“I really thought I popped it up to left field” Corby said.
The EHS senior got just enough of the ball to clear the left field wall. The game transformed from a 3-3 tie to 7-3 Edwardsville lead in with the sixth-inning bomb. The inning started with a leadoff home run off the bat of junior Sarah Hangsleben to tie it.
Corby went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and the game-winning grand slam.
Edwardsville pitcher Jordan Garella spoke about the struggles through the first few innings.
“In the beginning we had nerves,” she said.
EHS allowed two runs in the first on a two-run double from Lancer shortstop Lindsey Mossman. Belleville added another run in the second.
The Tigers found themselves down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.
Emma Lewis singled in the first run of the game for Edwardsville, scoring Hangsleben on a close play at the plate in the fourth.
“We told our players to be patient at the plate,” Tiger head coach Lori Blade said.
The Tigers struggled to get runners on in the first few innings, solid defense from the Lancers kept the them off the scoreboard.
Blade talked about the solid pitching efforts from Garella that allowed the Tigers to stay in the game after the rocky start.
EHS had beaten East twice this year in Southwestern Conference play, but couldn’t seem to grab any momentum through the first four innings.
Garella added, “I knew it would all come together if we just continued getting outs from our defense.”
Corby said the senior leadership in the dugout energized the Edwardsville bats.
“We were just trying to keep everyone motivated, there was a lot of game left,” Corby said. “Sarah’s homerun set the tone for the (sixth) inning, ”
The Tiger offense started sizzling in the sixth, as they brought 10 batters to the plate and scored a whopping six runs.
Lancer pitcher, sophomore Kristina Bettis, tossed 5.1 innings before exiting the game with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
East head coach Natalie Peters said, “We left it all out on the field.”
The Lancers gave a great effort, but it just wasn’t enough to grab the title away from the SWC champion Tigers. It marked the fifth consecutive regional crown for EHS.
The Lancers ended their season at 24-12. Peters said, “We had a great season, we didn’t quite get off to the start we were hoping for, but our girls gave it their all,” said Peters, whose Lancers ended their season at 24-12. “They left it all out on the field today and we are all proud.”
The Tigers look to keep the momentum going heading into the rest of the postseason.
“This is a high note in the season,” Hangsleben said, “We hope to keep going.”
The Tigers celebrated on the mound as a team after the final out was recorded on a routine pop-up to center field. After a moment of jubilation, they received the regional championship plaque and set their eyes on next week’s game.