Gillespie Softball (22-6) had an exciting week last week by honoring their departing seniors earlier in the week and capping the week by winning the South Central Conference on Friday. Departing the team at the conclusion of this year’s season are Addison Bryant, a Lincoln Land recruit, Ally Bires and Abigail Smith.
The back-to-back conference title victory comes ahead of regionals that start this afternoon.
The Miners will again host the regionals at Ben-Gil Elementary School as the top seed. Monday’s first round game will be played in Staunton between Staunton (#8) and Carlinville (#9) with the winner advancing to play the Miners in Gillespie on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. On Wednesday, Litchfield (#4) will face Hillsboro (#6) with the winner advancing to the regional championship that will be played on Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m.
As Gillespie prepares for regionals, the team was on a 7-game winning streak before Quincy Notre Dame snapped the team’s streak by handing the Miners a 1-2 loss in the second game of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. The defeat came down to the last play in the seventh inning when the Miners walked in the winning run with bases loaded. Sydney Henrichs had a strong pitching performance for Gillespie surrendering two runs, giving up six hits and striking out five.
Before dropping the Quincy Notre Dame matchup, the Miners won the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader by beating Pleasant Plains 4-0 with Bryant holding Pleasant Plains to only one hit and tossing a shutout. Gillespie got two hits and one RBI from Mackenzie Kasarda, one hit from Ally Bires and one hit from Lexie Bussmann. The team got their other RBIs from Henrichs and Ally Clay.
Gillespie didn’t allow their opposition a single run in the team’s first three games last week before Saturday’s road trip. The Miners started their week by ousting Staunton 4-0 on senior night, then beat Hillsboro 1-0 and later whipped Vandalia 17-0 on Friday to win the conference.
The Miners are looking very strong as they enter postseason play. Kasarda, the team’s catcher, leads the team from the batter’s box batting .481 with 28 RBIs, six home runs, five triples and 10 doubles. Rylee Sarti also is performing very well hitting .352 with 27 RBIs and 23 singles. On the mound, Bryant is 19-5 this season with a 1.181 earned run average.