EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville softball pitcher Riley Nelson was in complete control of the game, striking out 11 and walking only one, giving up two hits, while Jillian Lane, Grace Oertle, and Madi Kolakowski all had two RBIs each as the Tigers took a 10-0 win over Alton in a Southwestern Conference game played Thursday night at the Edwardsville Sports Complex.

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The Tigers started out by taking a 2-0 lead in the first, and never let up, scoring five times in the third, and getting the two game-ending runs across in the fifth to terminate the game via the 10-run rule.

"Good," said Edwardsville coach Caty Happe when asked how she was feeling about the proceedings on the night. "We scored in multiple innings, which is always good to see, we put the ball in play, and made them make plays. Definitely got bunts down tonight, so that's always good to see. So, good overall win against a good Alton team."

Nelson was very dominant in the circle, fanning six in a row at one point, and also striking out five in a row in another part of the game, as she went all the way in the circle to pick up the win.

"Yeah, she did really well," Happe said. "She settled in after that first inning, and it was a good outing to see, especially since we've got three games coming up this weekend."

The Tigers are starting to come together at the most opportune time, with Edwardsville now having won seven straight, and seemingly playing stronger every game,

"Yeah, it is," Happe said "So, we'll keep trying to put together some quality wins, and hopefully, be ready when the postseason comes,"

Things have come along exceptionally well for the Tigers, and Happe is encouraged by what she's seeing at the present time.

"Yeah, so, that's how the season's based," Happe said "It's been unfortunate that we've had some bad weather, and had to cancel some games. Hopefully, we can continue to get better, and continue to improve for postseason."

Which is coming soon, and while their regional opponents will be determined next week, the Tigers will be hosting an IHSA Class 4A regional, which will be most important to the team.

"Make it as far as we can," Happe said with a smile. "We get to host regionals, so that's always a good start."

The Redbirds came out flat to start, and although the team battled, Alton just couldn't get anything going against Nelson and the Tigers.

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"We did battle a little bit," said Alton coach Dan Carter, "but we just looked flat out here tonight. It looks like we hadn't played a game in a while, I don't know why. We played just the other night We just looked flat from the get-go, not a lot of talk, not a lot of heart and desire, Hopefully, we can turn things around, because we've got Belleville East tomorrow night."

And as always, the Southwestern Conference is very competitive, and Carter tipped his cap to the Tigers.

"Yeah, they're a good ball club," Carter said, "they do a lot of things right, and they did out here tonight. They got good pitching, good offense, they ran the bases extremely well, put a lot of pressure on us, and we didn't execute on the defensive side."

Carter also tipped his cap in the direction of Nelson and her effort on the evening.

"She did a nice job out there," Carter said, "keeping us off-balance and guessing. We're going to have to do a little bit better job, and keep attacking at the plate. Don't let the good pitchers get ahead."

The Redbirds' season hasn't been one of the better ones in the last few years. but the team keeps on competing and staying the course, and it's always such a good sign.

"Yeah, when you've got a lot of seniors, we do expect that," Carter said. "We expect them to battle every night put here, and they're doing a nice job for the most part. They're going to have to put this one back into the back of the memory bank real quick, and flip the switch for tomorrow."

The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Redbirds, but Carter knows that his team will bounce back and keep going, no matter what.

"Not a lot of time to rest up," Carter said. "We've got to keep going here. That's our game plan."

The Tigers started out well, loading the bases to start the game, with a walk to Brooke Burris, and bunt singles by both Sophie Antonini and Jillian Lane. Kolakowski delivered a clean single up the middle to score Burris and Antonini to make it 2-0 for Edwardsville. The Tigers then added another run in the second, starting when Jillian Hawkes reached on an error, going to second on the play and stole third. Burris walked, and Antonini grounded to short, with Hawkes scoring to hove Edwardsville the lead at 3-0.

The bottom of the third was the big one, as Kolakowski opened with a single, coming in on Nelson single. Audrey De La Cruz-Torre tripled home Nelson to make it 5-0, then Cruz-Torre scored on a passed ball to make it 6-0, One out later, with runners on first and second, Lane singled home two runs to make it 8-0.

Edwardsville ended it in the fifth, when with two out, pinch hitter Graham Cobb-Gulledge reached on an error by the third baseman, Jillian Lane reached on another error, with Antonini, who re-entered, going to third, and both scoring on an Oertle triple to the right-center field fence to end the game with the Tigers on top 10-0.

Alton hosts Collinsville on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

The Tigers play at East St. Louis on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

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