BELLEVILLE - Marley Fox and Riley Nelson drove in runs in the opening inning, then Avery Hamilton shut down Belleville East, allowing only one run on three hits as Edwardsville took a 4-1 win over Belleville East to advance to the final of the IHSA Class 4A Normal Community softball sectional Tuesday evening at Belleville West

The win puts the Tigers into the last 16 and also was its 30th win of the season, both happening for the second consecutive year.

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"That's a huge accomplishment," said Edwardsville head coach Caty Happe. "That's awesome."

Both accomplishments came over a very good Lancer team that the Tigers split with during the regular season.

"We beat a good Belleville East team," Happe said, "and we're glad to move on in the sectional. "We scored four in the first, they countered with one and that was all today. We hit the ball hard today, but right at someone."

When East was threatening to rally, Hamilton reached back and was able to shut down the Lancers in the key moments.

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"Avery pitched a complete game and really did well today," Happe said. "She had a great first inning and then, she really competed when they had a run of hits on her."

The Edwardsville defense also backed up Hamilton, making big plays when needed to help preserve the win.

The Tigers scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the first, with the Lancers scoring their only run in the second. Fox had a hit and RBI for Edwardsville, while Hamilton, Zoie Boyd, Grace Oertle, Jillian Lane and Madi Kolakowski all had hits and Nelson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the first.

Hamilton went all the way inside the circle, allowing a run on three hits while walking one and striking out two to help the Tigers advance.

The Lancers wind up their season 27-8-1, while the Tigers are now 30-5 and advance to the sectional final against Bradley-Bourbonnais, a 9-1 winner over East Moline United in the second semifinal, Friday afternoon at Normal Community, with the first pitch coming at 4:30 p.m. It'll be a rematch of last year's Pekin sectional final, won by Edwardsville 10-0.

"We played them in the sectional final last year, so we'll look at our notes," Happe said. "But we're two different ball clubs and we'll be ready to do battle with them."

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