EDWARDSVILLE – Call it a tale of two innings Saturday for the Marquette Catholic High softball team.
The last inning of their first game and the first inning of their last game resulted in the Explorers getting a split in the one-day Edwardsville Tournament at the District 7 Sports Complex.
Megan Wittich’s two-run home run in a seven-run seventh of the opener enabled the Explorers to defeat Peoria Notre Dame, 9-7. Then host Edwardsville scored three times in the first inning of the championship contest to beat the Explorers, 4-0.
“Our kids are fighters, but what we learned from this weekend is that we still have some things to fix,” Marquette coach Dan Wiedman said.
The 20-6 Explorers lost to Quincy Notre Dame, 3-0, on Friday and then beat Peoria Notre Dame, 14-11, in the one-night Marquette Cluster at Gordon Moore Park in Alton. So they posted two wins over the 12-12 Irish in two days to enjoy a 2-2 weekend.
Edwardsville, now 17-3, defeated Quincy Notre Dame, 3-0 on Saturday before blanking Marquette in the title game. Quincy ND defeated Peoria ND, 8-3, for third place and improved to 17-5.
“It’d be fine with me if we could do this tournament again,” Tigers’ coach Lori Blade said.
Wiedman is all for it. “I’d like to do it again and hope to make it an annual event," he said.
Wittich certainly cherished her two-out, walk-off home run that capped a comeback win over Peoria Notre Dame.
“It’s the biggest home run I’ve hit in my career,” said Wittich, 3-for-4 against the Irish. “I’ve never hit a game-winning one like that. All I was looking to do was to get on base.”
The Irish scored four times in the top of the seventh to grab a 7-2 lead, apparently a safe one. Yet the Explorers were far from finished.
Miranda Schroeder singled to start the bottom of the seventh and one out later, Carly Schaber singled. A pair of Peoria Notre Dame errors kept the Explorers going and winning pitcher Meghan Schorman then singled to make it 7-5.
One out later, Kalie Buecker delivered a two-run single to knot it and Wittich followed with her dramatic home run. All seven runs were unearned.
“We were really patient with our at-bats in the seventh inning,” Wittich said. “We knew we had nothing to lose.”
Wiedman added, “That was an exciting victory as we have had all season. Both Kalie and Megan are three-year starters and they did what they needed to do. We finally showed a lot of composure at the plate after putting ourselves in a hole earlier in the game.”
Schorman and Schaber both had two hits as the Explorers overcame five errors. Just two of the seven runs against Schorman were earned. She struck out 11.
Edwardsville then tagged Schorman quickly in the title game. Torrie Kruse’s two-run double highlighted the Tigers’ three-run opening inning. They scored another run on a wild pitch and had a baserunner called out for interference.
“Our first inning set the tone against a quality pitcher,” Blade said. “And our defense was really good today. We came up with some big plays and did what we needed to do. We also got some timely hits.”
Outfielder Rachel Anderson, who was 3-for-3, tripled and scored on Kallen Loveless’ sacrifice fly in the third inning. The Tigers managed just one hit the rest of the way against Schorman, but Edwardsville’s Jordan Garella took care of the Explorers.
The sophomore right-hander scattered seven hits in silencing the Explorers. They stranded eight runners, including three in the sixth. Tess Eberlin went 2-for-4 and Schorman was 2-for-2 to pace them.
“We were hoping to get three or four innings from Jordan because she’s just getting back into things for us,” Blade said. “But she was able to keep it going.”
The Explorers, meanwhile, couldn’t get anything going.
Wiedman said, “Edwardsville made a lot of good plays and they are solid on defense. We were more focused on playing better defense in this game and we did that. We just couldn’t get any runs and Edwardsville had a big inning.”
Marquette resumes action Wednesday at Roxana. Edwardsville is at Belleville East on Tuesday in a pivotal Southwestern Conference game. The Tigers are 9-0 in the league, while the Lancers are 9-1.
EDWARDSVILLE 4, MARQUETTE 0
Marquette 000 000 0 – 0 7 0
Edwardsville 301 000 X – 4 5 0
Marquette (20-6) – Eberlin 2-4, Harshbarger 1-4, Schorman 2-2, Frost 1-3, Buecker 1-3. LP – Schorman IP-6 H-5 R-4 ER-4 BB-1 K-5
Edwardsville (17-3) – Anderson 3-3 3B, Loveless 1-2 RBI, Kruse 1-3 2B RBI-2. WP – Garella IP-7 H-7 R-0 BB-1 K-4
MARQUETTE 9, PEORIA NOTRE DAME 7
Peoria Note Dame 000 201 3 – 7 7 2
Marquette 100 100 7 – 9 11 5
Peoria Notre Dame (12-11) – E. Fulcher 1-4, Peterson 2-3 2B, Bine 2-4 RBI-2, Serrano 1-4, Mayernich 1-3 RBI. LP – Parker IP-6.2 H-11 R-9 ER-2 BB-1 K-0
Marquette (20-5) – Eberlin 1-4, Schorman 2-4 RBI, Frost 1-4, Buecker 1-4 RBI-2, Wittich 3-4 HR RBI-2, Schroeder 1-3, Schaber 2-3 RBI. WP – Schorman IP-7 H-7 R-7 ER-2 BB-2 K-11