GODFREY — The Alton Redbirds enjoyed a team breakfast Monday morning before their softball game with rival Roxana.
No doubt, it was a quick start meal.
The Redbirds got going immediately and walloped the Shells, 11-1, in a 5-inning nonconference game. Alton improved to 6-0, while Roxana dropped to 2-5.
“Wins can be hard to get, so they are a good thing,” said 17th-year AHS head coach Dan Carter. “And we are off to a good start.
“Now, we will have O’Fallon here on Tuesday to start our (Southwestern) Conference play.”
The competition may change when O’Fallon, 4-0 going into this week, visits AHS. Yet the Redbirds aim to be just as resourceful. They are enjoying their best start since 2013, when they began 9-0.
Alton plated 11 runs on 10 hits and took advantage of 7 Roxana errors to make the most of its short-game victory Monday. Senior Katelyn Presley led the charge by going 4-for-4 and driving home a run.
“She went 4-for-4 against a decent pitcher, too,” Carter said, referring to the Shells’ Hannah Rexford.
Presley added, “That’s my first four-hit game this season. I’m seeing the ball well and I think it helps when the rest of the team hits, too.”
Freshman Tami Wong contributed a two-run single and sophomore Taylor Herrin supplied a run-scoring single to back winning pitcher Brittany Roady.
The senior right-hander allowed six hits and an earned run in five innings. Roady improved to 6-0 with a 0.83 ERA. She struck out six and walked two.
“I feel really good when I go out there,” Roady said of her work in the circle. “I’m getting a lot of support offensively.”
Carter noted, “She has pitched well and did a nice job out there today.”
Roady said the Redbirds have the ability to rally around each other for a successful season.
“What we need to keep doing is pick each other up and come together,” she said.
Roxana, which is scheduled to welcome Staunton on Tuesday in a South Central Conference contest, needs a pick-me-up, coach Mike Arbuthnot said.
It likely begins with the Shells’ defense, which faltered against the Redbirds and enabled the winners to score nine unearned runs. Rexford, the losing pitcher, worked 4-plus innings.
“The kids are playing hard, but we aren’t making plays in the field,” he said. Roxana has yielded more than 30 unearned runs thus far this season.
Abruthnot added, “It doesn’t matter what kind of error that is made. You just have to make plays. We gave Alton a lot of extra outs. You can’t do that against a team that hits the ball and puts it in play like they do. It’s sort of the same thing we did in the game with Civic Memorial.”
The Eagles outslugged the Shells, 24-12, on March 24 in Roxana.
Ashley Betts of the Shells collected two hits against Alton, while Taylor Antoine had a run-scoring single. Roxana strung together three singles and a walk in the second inning, but scored only once.
Meanwhile, the Redbirds built a 7-1 lead after two innings, made it 8-1 an inning later and tacked on three runs in the fifth. Miranda Hudson and Alicia Goewey both chipped in with RBI singles to boost their cause.
Carter said the Birds have a nice blend of experience and youth, Wong, a freshman who played two positions against Roxana, is one of those promising newcomers. She was 1-for-3 and reached base twice.
“She has a little bit of confidence going and she doesn’t play like a freshman,” Carter said.
And while that power breakfast may have sparked the Redbirds in this one, it’s more plausible their overall trust in themselves is carrying them.
“We know our schedule is going to get tougher, starting with our next game,” Presley said.
So the Redbirds should find out how high they can fly.
"We have a lot of confidence," Presley said.
ALTON 11, ROXANA 1
Roxana 010 00 – 1 6 7
Alton 341 03 – 11 10 1
Roxana (2-5) — Ashley Betts 2-3, Abi Stahlhut 1-2, Shelbie Jackson 1-2, Alexis Counts 1-2, Taylor Antoine 1-2 RBI. LP – Hannah Rexford IP-4 H-10 R-11 ER-2 BB-1 K-5
Alton (6-0) – Katelyn Presley 4-4 RBI, Miranda Hudson 1-3 RBI, Savannah Fisher 1-3, Tomi Dublo 1-3, Tami Wong 1-3 RBI-2, Taylor Herrin 1-2 3B RBI, Alicia Goewey 1-1 RBI. WP – Brittany Roady IP-5 H-6 R-1 ER-1 BB-2 K-6