Photo by Caleb Motsinger
Junior Megan Wittich pitched a three-hitter Thursday against the Knights helping her team to a 2-0 record.
ALTON – Two games, two wins. The Marquette Catholic High Explorers have picked up where they left off from the 2013 softball season.
Marquette, 31-7 last year and runner-up in the IHSA Class 3A finals, improved to 2-0 this spring by defeating Metro East Lutheran 8-1 on Thursday in a Prairie State Conference game at Moore Park. MELHS is 1-1.
“They are always going to be good,” Knights’ coach Rob Stock said of the Explorers, who have won 129 of their last 151 games. “They are very experienced and will be a formidable foe.”
The Explorers are without the graduated Alexis Silkwood, one of the top pitchers in state history. Silkwood directed them the past four seasons and some of her knowledge is guiding Marquette pitchers Lindsey Wilson and Megan Wittich.
Wilson, a senior, threw a strong game Wednesday in an 11-2 win over Granite City. Wittich followed that with a three-hitter against MELHS. The junior struck out five and didn’t issue a walk.
“What I learned from Alexis was how to attack the (opposing) hitters,” Wittich said. “I’m excited about this opportunity to pitch. I want to throw strikes, get ahead of the batters and focus on hitting the corners. I want to keep out of the middle of the plate.”
Marquette coach Dan Wiedman added, “Megan did that today and the good thing about her and Lindsey is that neither one walked a batter. I told them they were going to pitch all of our games and we will probably be alternating them.”
A resourceful offense backed Wittich. The Explorers made eight runs on seven hits and took advantage of Metro Lutheran mistakes to score six unearned runs. The Knights made four errors.
Morgan Wiedman of Marquette was 2-for-4, as was Karley Willmann, who smacked a triple. Wittich contributed two hits and leadoff batter Maddie Youngblood was 1-for-3, reached base three times and had two RBIs.
“Maddie has speed and we need her to get on base and score a lot of runs for us,” Dan Wiedman said. Youngblood scored three times against the Knights and tough-luck losing pitcher Rachel Goff.
She struck out nine and allowed only two earned runs. Goff also singled home Shelby Steinmeyer, who tripled in the sixth, for the Knights’ lone run.
“It was good for us to face Goff because she’s a pretty good pitcher,” Dan Wiedman said.
Stock agreed. “Rachel threw a good game. We just need to clean up some things behind her. But we are a young team and we have a lot of people playing different positions.”
MARQUETTE 8, METRO EAST LUTHERAN 1
MELHS 000 001 0 – 1 3 4
Marquette 100 124 – 8 7 2
Metro Lutheran (1-1) – Steinmeyer 1-3 3B,Goff 1-3, Kellar 1-13. LP – Goff IP-6 H-7 R-8 ER-2 BB-2 K-9
Marquette (2-0) – Youngblood 1-3 RBI-2, Wiedman 2-4 RBI, Wittich 2-3, Willman 2-4 3B. WP – Wittich IP-7 H-3 R-1 ER-1 BB-0 K-5