Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

May 10, 2014

Comets soar to NTC title game; Stew-Stras/Windsor downs St. Elmo/Brownstown 10-1

WINDSOR — St. Elmo/Brownstown let Stew-Stras/Windsor's first three batters reach base on errors to start Friday's National Trail Conference tournament semifinal game.

The Comets picked up two early runs with SE/B's help, but left no doubt afterward that they were going to be the team heading to Monday's NTC title game.

Lindsay Burton's team-high three hits led the Comets to a 10-1 win against the Eagles with the backing of Becca Schlechte's pitching performance in the circle.

Schlechte gave up three hits in seven innings, carrying a perfect game through the first 3 2-3 innings. She finished up with seven strikeouts, utilizing her changeup to fool hitters.

“She's got a good changeup going,” Stew-Stras/Windsor head coach Kyle Knop said. “She's got some pop on the ball, so when she gets that changeup in there, it's going to make her ball look faster than it is.”

The Eagles only got to Schlechte in the fourth inning, using a pair of singles and a walk to score their only run of the game. Bethany Oberlink hit an RBI single.

The Comets' offense proved to be the more dominant of the two teams, highlighted by Burton, who hit everything except a home run in the game. She had an RBI triple in the second inning.

They scored four runs in the second inning, behind four hits with two outs. Kendall Knop kept the inning alive with a two-out single, followed by back-to-back triples by Schlechte and Burton.

Kennedy Ferris' RBI double scored the final run of the inning to lift the Comets to a 6-0 lead. It was one of two hits Ferris had in the game, which was a welcome sight for her head coach.

“We need her,” Knop said. “We need Kennedy hitting.”

Knop said Ferris fell into a hitting slump after breaking her bat in a 4-1 loss to Altamont last week. But she and players like Madison and Baylee Quast showed offensive sparks in the win. Friday's semifinal was Baylee Quast's first full game back from an injury.

Quast hit an RBI single for the Comets' only run of the third inning and stole two bases. She struck out twice, but reached in the fifth inning on a dropped third strike.

“She looked pretty rusty the other night,” Knop said. “She got that first hit, which I know was big for her.”

Madison Quast's RBI single in the first inning was the Comets' only hit in the frame, benefiting from three St. Elmo/Brownstown errors.

Knop ended the game with two hits and a pair of RBIs, joining three other players with multi-hit games.

“We're going to need the bats, especially against Altamont,” Knop said. “If you're going to beat them, you have to hold them to some runs and then figure out Ledbetter.”

After the game, the conversation turned directly to Altamont, who will host and meet Stew-Stras/Windsor in the NTC championship game on Monday.

The Comets lost 4-1 in the two teams' only meeting this season, which was also played in Altamont. Schlechte pitched and kept the Comets within striking distance, Knop said, but their bats didn't respond.

The loss boiled down to a difficult night at the plate, which Knop said he hopes is different on Monday; however, hitting against Altamont will mean figuring out star pitcher Deidre Ledbetter.

“We're going to have to figure out a way to score four or five runs,” Knop said. “If we don't solve Ledbetter, it's just a matter of where the score is going to end up.”

St. Elmo/Brownstown plays in the Egyptian Illini Conference tournament today, moved to Beecher City from Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran Friday due to wet conditions in Centralia. The Comets meet the Indians at 4 p.m. Monday in Altamont.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.

St. Elmo/Brownstown          000 100 0     1 3 5

Stew-Stras/Windsor          241 021 X     10 12 1

WP - Schlechte (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 7 K, 2 BB) LP - Scholes (6 IP, 12 H, 10 R, 4 K, 2 BB)

SE/B: Fitch (1B), Brown (BB, R), Oberlink (1B, RBI), D. Austin (1B), Scholes (BB)

SS/W: Knop (1B, 2B, 2 RBI), Schlechte (3B, SB, 2 RBI), Burton (1B, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI), Ferris (1B, 2B, 2 RBI), M. Quast (1B, RBI), Tabor (BB, SB), Schultz (BB), Greuel (2 1B, SB), B. Quast (1B, RBI, 2 SB)

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