EDWARDSVILLE — Timely hitting helped the Belleville East Lancers defeat the Granite City Warriors in the first round of the Class 4A Edwardsville Regional at the District 7 Sports Complex in Edwardsville on Wednesday.
The Lancers (24-11) banged out eight hits against Warriors pitcher Morgan Tanksley in the 4-1 win. For East, Jessica Belzer and Quiozha Alexander each went 2-for-3. Tanksley walked four and struck out seven batters.
“Granite City played a great game,” East head coach Natalie Peters said. “They’re doing great things there and they have an amazing pitcher. We left a lot of people on base and that’s a tribute to their pitcher and their defense.”
Angela VanderPluym started on the mound for the Lancers and worked 4.1 innings. Kristina Bettis relieved VanderPluym in the fifth.
The Warriors banged out seven hits, as Khaley Bettorf went 2-for-4 and Caitlyn Patrick went 3-for-4. Patrick doubled in the third and Bettorf doubled in the seventh. Granite City stranded nine runners in the contest, two in the first, fifth and seventh innings.
“We just didn’t get the breaks today,” Warriors' head coach Emily Ashby said. “Nothing went our way. We hit well today, we just didn’t get consecutive hits when we needed to. Things didn’t fall, it happens.”
After two scoreless innings, the Lancers established a 1-0 lead with Brooke Laidley’s one-run double in the third. She smacked the double into centerfield on a 2-2 count.
“I wanted to do anything to score runners,” Laidley said. “I had failed in my job previously. So, I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team. On that pitch, in going in with two strikes, we were taught you have to fight.”
Peters agreed that timely hitting was a factor.
“We could have had more of those, but we go a few timely hits to get us some runs,” she said.
Next, Lindsey Mossman came to bat and smacked a ground ball toward Tanksley. Mossman was thrown out at first, but Alexander ran home from third to make the score 2-0 in favor of East.
Granite City tightened things up in the fifth inning when Bettis plunked batter Morgan Fazzio with the bases loaded and Betthorf came home to score.
A Granite City error in the fifth allowed the Lancers to score their third run and Amanda Dermody’s one-run single later in the inning elevated the score to 4-1. The Warriors finished the season with an 8-21 mark.
The Lancers will take on Edwardsville in the regional championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday at the District 7 Sports Complex. The 27-5 Tigers bested Quincy 11-0 in six innings on Tuesday to advance to the regional title tilt.