Edwardsville avoids upsets and wins in walk-off mode


Zoie Boyd knew she had to do something to change her team’s luck.

“I’ve kept a quarter in my back pocket for the past two weeks. I felt like it didn’t give us the best chance, so I gave it to coach (Caty) Ponce,” Boyd said.

Edwardsville’s luck turned to good fortune when Boyd dropped a bunt to tag third-place Grace Blakemore for a 1-0 victory over the Quincy Blue Devils in the Edwardsville Class 4A Regional Semi-Finals Tuesday inside the District 7 Sports Complex.

“I don’t think I’m going to salvage this quarter,” Boyd said. “It feels really good, though. We needed this battle to show that we can win games like this.

Top seed Edwardsville (28-3) will advance to face sixth seed Collinsville (11-18) at 4 p.m. Friday in the regional championship game. The Kahoks beat fourth-seeded Alton (11-18) 6-2 to qualify.

Quincy, seeded seventh, ends his season at 7-21.

“You can’t trust the seeds with them. You don’t see them (in the regular season) and they’re in a really good conference. I was expecting a good ball game and it was a bit more than expected,” Blade said.

Of the 21 defeats suffered by the Blue Devils this season, 10 have ended in three points or less.

“It was a unique ball game,” Quincy coach Darrell Hanze said. “I told the girls this week to come out here and punch Edwardsville in the face – not literally – and give them a good game and show that our record doesn’t reflect what a ball club we are. That’s what they did.

Although the Blue Devils didn’t get a knockout, they definitely had the Tigers against the ropes for the first six innings.

In the bottom of the seventh, Lexie Griffin started with a double from the top of the wall to the center. His courtesy runner Grace Blakemore moved to third on a bunt from Brooke Tolle, then headed home to score on a bunt from Boyd when the ball was dropped on the attempted tag at home plate for the 1-win 0.

“Brooke did a great job of bringing it down, as did Zoie,” Blade said. “We were lucky she didn’t hang on to the ball there, but we had to press a bit.”

It was the 18and RBI of the season for Boyd, who entered the game with .414.

“We focus a lot in practice on making sure we reduce our cavities. Coach Blade focuses on it a lot because she knows it’s a big part of the game. I was confident I could knock it down,” Boyd said.

It ended a frustrating day at the plate for the Tigers, who were handcuffed by Quincy starter Brynn Krutmeier. She allowed just one run on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 6.1 innings.

Heading into the seventh, Edwardsville was 0 for 8 with runners in goal position against Krutmeier. She struck out the team in the second after Tatum VanRyswyk singled and reached second on an error to start the inning.

“She pitched like that all season. Because of our file, nobody knew anything about her,” Henze said. “I was expecting this kind of performance from her today and I got it. She wasn’t feeling well…but she dumped it. I saw it from her all the way through. season.

Ryleigh Owens was even more dominant for the Tigers.

The senior left-handed pitcher allowed just three hits. She withdrew 10.

“Ryleigh was good. She threw very well. She came in with big strikeouts when she needed them and was really good today,” Blade said.

Now 15-1 on the season, Owens threw him 12and laundering of the season. She lowered her ERA to 0.51.

Quincy threatened in the sixth when Ariana Adorno reached second with one out after hitting an error and advancing on a sacrificial bunt. Owens, however, got one strikeout and one out to end the inning.

In the seventh, Karly Leenerts led off with a single and took second on a sacrificial bunt. Again, Owens got a pair of strikeouts to get out of the jam.

The Blue Devils finished the game 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.

“We weren’t able to get the hit when we had runners in scoring position and we couldn’t reduce the bunt,” Henze said.

Next up for EHS is the third meeting with Collinsville this season. Edwardsville won 18-0 on April 22 and 10-0 on April 26.

The Tigers will be aiming for their fourth consecutive regional championship and their eighth in the past nine years.

“You can’t win the tournament if you don’t make it to the championship game and that’s what we wanted to do,” Blade said. “We were lucky to do that. Now we have to make the most of our opportunities.


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