During a game last season, Mulberry Grove had no trouble handling South Central as they defeated the Cougars 17-0. What a difference a year makes. While the Cougars still came up on the short end of the stick Tuesday in their St. Elmo regional semifinal, South Central gave Mulberry Grove a game before falling 4-1.The loss ended the South Central season, but coach Gary Kapper had nothing but positive words for his team and their development this season. "They have just improved tremendously throughout the year," he said. "They just never quit. This team has improved a lot over three years."Freshman Abby King took the mound, as usual, for the Cougars, and ran into a bit of trouble in the second. After a long battle with Becca Oldham at the dish, Oldham came out on top, blasting a solo homer to dead center and gave Mulberry a 1-0 lead. A pair of errors kept the Mulberry inning alive and allowed another run to score, putting South Central in a 2-0 hole.South Central fell further behind in the third, after Karissa Woody took advantage of a walk and a single to plate two runners and put the Aces up 4-0. King shut them down from there, allowing just one hit over the next three innings. "She did a real good job, Abby did a really good job and Kellie (Crain) did a really good job getting her to throw the pitches where she needed to," Kapper said.King also supplied the only offensive run for South Central, bringing home Oceana Whitt on a sacrifice fly in the fourth to cut the lead to 4-1.The Cougars' only other chance came in the sixth , when they put runners on second and third with two outs. Brittany Hall grounded to Oldham at the mound, but Oldham made the wrong choice and didn't get Hall at first base.With the bases loaded, Mia Campbell stepped up, but hit a sharp grounder at Oldham to end the inning. "We could have folded, and in years past, we would have folded," Kapper said. "The biggest change was attitude."Whitt had two singles and a run. King had an RBI sacrifice fly and a single, while Kellie Crain and Macie Cain each had a single.Mulberry Grove advances to the regional final against Altamont Friday.
South Central 000 100 0 1 5 2Mulberry Grove 022 000 X 4 7 0WP - Oldham LP - King
South Central: Crain (1B); Whitt (1B, 1B); Cain (1B); King (1B, RBI, SF)