Lady Aces to get rematch with Altamont after beating South Central in regional semifinals

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By Andrew Harner

ST. ELMO – Mulberry Grove got the rematch it wanted.


And South Central got a positive end to its season despite a loss.

The Lady Cougars battled hard throughout Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal game against Mulberry Grove, but the Lady Aces proved a bit stronger in a 4-1 victory.

The win sets up a rematch with Altamont in Friday’s regional championship game, and this time, Mulberry Grove hopes to be on the winning side.

“We came early to see some of their game (a 13-0 win against St. Elmo),” said coach Sara Burnet, whose team lost to Altamont, 3-2, earlier this season. “They were hitting well today, so Becca (Oldham) will have to work on changing speeds and keeping the ball down.”

Oldham has had a strong season from the pitcher’s circle in her final season with the Lady Aces, and there is little doubt that she will put in the time and effort to make sure she is ready for Friday’s game.

Against South Central, she struck out six in a complete-game effort, and also homered to lead off the second inning and open the scoring.

The Lady Aces (13-3) added another run that inning and posted two more in the third, with Karissa Woody and Josie Koontz delivering RBI singles.

The early runs are a good sign for Mulberry Grove, as the Lady Aces were shut out through the first six innings in the April 30 game against Altamont.

“We didn’t get any hits or runs until the seventh inning, so we have to jump on them early,” Burnet said of the rematch. “We’ve been doing that for weeks now.”

South Central (6-13) got on the board in the fourth, with seniors Oceana Whitt and Macie Cain singling, and freshman Abby King hitting a sacrifice fly.

“We had that one inning when we made some mistakes, but we battled back and hung in there,” said Lady Cougars coach Gary Kapper. “We had some good shots, but their center fielder (Koontz) made some unbelievable plays to rob us of some extra-base hits.”

The season was an improved one for South Central, after a 6-21 season last spring, and Kapper said that his senior class had a lot to do with that.

Whitt, Cain, Kellie Crain and Lexi Schafer, who missed the season due to illness, all acted as assistant coaches to Kapper, and he said their positive attitudes helped transform the team.

“We have played well this year,” Kapper said. “This team has never quit, and has showed a lot of improvement in the three years I have been here.”

Box score
Tuesday, May 14
Regional Semifinals
Mulberry Grove 4
South Central 1
S: 0-0-0-1-0-0-0—1-4-4
M: 0-2-2-0-0-0-X—4-5-1
WP: Oldham; 7 IP, 6 K
LP: Abby King; 7 IP, 3 K
Lady Aces: Oldham, 1-for-3, HR, RBI, run; Woody, 1-for-3, RBI, run; Koontz, 1-for-3, RBI, run; Kylea Vohlken, 1-for-2; Kate Jolliff, 1-for-3, run; Sam Goodin, run, BB; Kayla Zimmerman, SB.
Lady Cougars: King, 1-for-3, RBI, sac fly; Whitt, 1-for-3, run; Cain, 1-for-3, SB; Crain, 1-for-3.