EDWARDSVILLE – No doubt about it, Marquette's softball team has gotten off to a scorching start this season.
Freshman pitcher Meghan Schorman struck out 17 Granite City batters in the Explorers' season-opening 11-3 win over the Warriors Wednesday afternoon. One day later, Schorman was right back at it, striking out 11 Metro-East Lutheran hitters as the Explorers downed the Knights 16-0 in five innings Wednesday afternoon in MEL's season opener and the first Prairie State Conference encounter for both sides.
And just like Wednesday's win over Granite, the Marquette offense was red hot, scoring in every inning and collecting 16 hits off Knight pitching.
“We've got a good mix of players,” said Explorer coach Dan Wiedman. “We've been doing well so far, we just have a lot of things to work on right now. We hit well today and our pitching and defense played well too. We had a few baserunning mistakes, but overall, I'm happy with today.”
The Knights themselves are a young side, and it will take time to develop the team, feels MEL coach Rob Stock.
“We've not been able to get outside much so far,” Stock said, “and we'll need a couple of weeks of good practice, but we made some good plays today. We got to places where we needed to be, and for a young team, that's important.
“Considering it was a first game, we played pretty well.”
Marquette (2-0 overall, 1-0 PSC) didn't waste much time getting on the board, starting with a Sam Harshbarger single and stolen base. Miranda Schroeder then singled in Harshbarger for the first run, then scored, along with Katie Beucker, on a Callie Schabel single to make it 3-0 in the first.
The Explorers then put together a four-run second, highlighted Tess Eberlin triple to open the frame and RBI singles from Harshbarger and Schorman, and picked up two runs in the third, four in the fourth and three in the fifth to bring the game to a quick end.
Harshbarger had a 3-for-4 day with two RBIs, while Schorman was 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Buecker, Grace Frost, Schabel and Megan McClard all had extra-base hits for Marquette. The Knights' (0-1 overall and PSC) only hit of the day was a first-inning single from Abby McMahon. Audrey Paltz and Emma Eberhardt both reached on walks. Schorman got the win, while Cierra Fields was charged with the loss.
MEL's next contest comes at Dupo at 4:30 p.m. Monday, while Marquette travels to Gillespie for a 11 a.m. Saturday doubleheader against the Miners.
Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban