Girls Varsity Softball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
PREP SOFTBALL: Wong’s slam caps Redbirds’ comeback in 16-11 win over East
Greg Shashack, email@example.com
Greg Shashack | The Telegraph
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Alton’s Lynna Fischer (middle) gets a hug from Shelby Kulp while heading back to the dugout with Tami Wong (left), Abby Scyoc (12) and Ashlyn Betz (right) after Fischer’s home run in the third inning
GODFREY – Tami Wong was unsure immediately after the softball left her bat. But certainty would come soon after she left the batter’s box.
“Just a couple steps,” Wong said with a smile. “Yeah, it felt good off the bat.
Wong’s first-pitch grand slam with two outs in the fifth broke a 10-10 tie and provided the final four runs in an eight-run inning that launched the Alton Redbirds to a 16-11 Southwestern Conference victory over the Belleville East Lancers at Alton High.
“Sometimes, you’ve got to score 16,” Alton coach Dan Carter said. “And tonight was that night.”
Twelve would have done it, but Wong’s slam and Shelby Kulp’s two-out, two-run single in the sixth provided some comfort in a victory that pushed the Redbirds’ record to 7-2. Alton is 3-0 in the SWC for the first time since 2013.
Coming off a 4-1 victory over previously unbeaten O’Fallon (9-1), the Redbirds are atop the standings for a conference in which they have never won a championship.
“We’ve always been an underdog team,” said Wong, the lone senior in the Redbirds’ lineup. “No one is ever been saying, oh, Alton’s at the top of the conference. … We’ve been working four years just for that one title. This year, it could be so close.”
The Redbirds are scheduled to play at five-time defending SWC champion Edwardsville on Thursday. Alton’s coach will concede excitement over 3-0 in the league, but he is quick to pump the brakes on title talk.
“I’m not going to deny that, we do feel good about the start,” Carter said. “Let’s keep in mind that it is just three games.”
The defeat dropped East to 3-7 and 0-3 in the SWC following leagues losses to Collinsville (1-0) and Belleville West (9-6). The Lancers have lost four games in a row for the first time since 2015 when they dropped six straight in a 1-6 getaway.
The Redbirds had lost nine of their last 10 games vs. East since last beating the Lancers at AHS in 2013. And Alton had to power up Tuesday to put away East, which outhit the Redbirds 12-10.
Five of Alton’s 10 hits went for extra bases, including home runs from Wong, Lynna Fischer and Ashlyn Betz. Betz hit a solo shot in the first inning , Fischer hit a two-run homer in a five-run third before Wong’s slam in the fifth. It was the third home run for each of those three Redbirds.
East had leads of 2-1 and 10-6, but could not put away the Redbirds. “There wasn’t panic,” Carter said.
Wong said, “We’ve always been a hard-hitting team, we’re really good at hitting. It was fine that we went down a little bit, because we know we can get it back. Everyone in the lineup can hit.”
The biggest blast for Alton before Wong’s slam came from freshman Emma Kiger. With runners at first and third and two outs in the third inning, East opted to intentionally walk Betz to load the bases. Kiger responded with a drive to the fence in left field to drive in three runs. She then scored on Fischer’s homer.
“That was a great at-bat for her,” Carter said of Kiger. “For us, emotionally, that was the play that we needed to get things going.”
Betz, Fischer and Abby Scyoc had two hits apiece for the Redbirds. Kiger pushed her team-leading RBI total to 15 while matching Fischer in driving in three runs. Kiger, working in relief of starter Alyson Haegele, picked up the win. Abby Scyoc closed with a scoreless seventh.
East got three hits from Taylor Sparks and leadoff hitter Abby Gray had two hits and drove in four runs. Lexi Williams homered for East, while relief pitcher Brooklyn Thouvenot took the loss working in relief of starter Stephanie Bigham.