CITY SERIES: St. Anthony softball wins City Series for a third straight year; EHS avoids sweep by taking third game

May 13—EFFINGHAM — Three years of bragging.

That's what the St. Anthony softball team can do after defeating crosstown rival Effingham in the annual City Series for a third-straight year, and due to weather, they only needed one day to do it.

The Bulldogs swept the Flaming Hearts at Effingham High School Softball Field on Thursday, winning the first game, 5-4, and the second, 17-7.

Effingham started the first game by scoring the first run.

After Raegan Boone grounded out and Jerzi Bierman struck out to open the game, Sidney Donaldson came through with a single. Natalie Armstrong then drew a walk and both runners advanced one base — Donaldson stealing third and Armstrong advancing to second on defensive indifference — before Donaldson swiped home plate without the Bulldogs noticing.

Ryley Engel then struck out looking to retire the side.

St. Anthony left one runner in scoring position in the bottom of the first after Hailey Niebrugge singled and later advanced to second base with one out. Abbi Hatton and Sydney Kibler grounded out, though, ending the threat.

Madi Kirk opened the third frame with a leadoff walk.

Kibler worked around it, though, striking out Alyssa Martin and Bria Beals before getting Boone to line out to second base.

Hearts pitcher Saige Althoff continued to work well against the stout St. A lineup, retiring the next three batters. She got Maddie Kibler to ground out, Stacie Vonderheide to pop out and Laney Coffin to strike out.

Sydney Kibler nearly did the same in the next half-inning. She got Bierman to strike out and Donaldson to ground out. Armstrong, though, greeted her with a base hit before Mya Harvey flew out to end the inning.

Althoff retired the side in order once again after Julia Schultz flew out, Lilly Gannaway struck out and Addie Wernsing grounded out.

Effingham then added on its second run of the game in the top of the fourth.

After Engel struck out, Kirk drew a walk and Martin reached on a single. Beals then struck out and Kirk scored after evading the throw home. Boone came up with the RBI on that play.

The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Hatton hit a solo home run to cut the deficit to one run, 2-1.

Harvey answered with a two-run shot in the top of the fifth, though, to increase the lead to three runs, 4-1.

But St. Anthony continued to chip away, scoring one run in the fifth and tying the game in the sixth.

Vonderheide scored on an RBI single by Gannaway, and Hatton and courtesy runner Camille Wines crossed after an RBI double by Vonderheide in the sixth.

Schultz then started the bottom of the seventh with a double. Gannaway then flew out before Wernsing laced a single past the third baseman, scoring Schultz and giving the Bulldogs a walk-off win.

"My approach was 'see ball, hit ball,'" Schultz said. "If anything was a strike, I was going to hit it; it was awesome that I got to score the winning run."

Wernsing moved to the leadoff spot after Adysen Rios was out due to injury.

She said that it was an adjustment switching from the two-hole to the first batter of the game.

"I knew I had to get ready, get timed right then and not have another batter in front of me, so it was different, but I adjusted," Wernsing said.

St. Anthony out-hit Effingham 9-7 in the game.

Niebrugge and Vonderheide had two hits. Wernsing, Hatton, Sydney Kibler, Schultz and Gannaway had one.

That hitting carried over into the second game, too, when the Bulldogs finished with 23 of them in the contest.

Much like the first game, St. Anthony started slow, scoring three runs through the first three innings and allowing six.

Hatton started the first with a double. Sydney Kibler then drove her in with a double. Maddie Kibler followed with a walk, but the inning ended when Sydney Kibler was caught stealing third base.

Boone led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Bierman then reached on a single and both runners moved up one base after a Donaldson ground out.

Armstrong then popped out to the shortstop, but Harvey hit a two-run single, giving the Hearts a 2-1 lead.

The Bulldogs regained the lead in the top of the second after a two-run home run from Gannaway. Effingham did the same in the bottom half of the frame after Boone hit an RBI double, Bierman hit a two-run home run and Armstrong hit an RBI single to quickly push the hosts ahead by three runs, 6-3.

Niebrugge tied the game in the top of the fourth on a three-run shot before Maddie Kibler and Vonderheide went back-to-back.

Wernsing hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth to make it a four-run game, 10-6. Martin cut the lead to three runs in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single.

Maddie Kibler hit her second home run of the game in the top of the sixth, a solo shot. Wernsing then plated two on an RBI double, Niebrugge hit an RBI single, courtesy runner Ava Walton scored on a wild pitch and Maddie Kibler hit an RBI single to make the final.

Maddie Kibler finished with four hits. Niebrugge, Vonderheide, Schultz and Gannaway had three. Wernsing, Sydney Kibler and Coffin had two and Hatton had one.

EHS avoids the sweep, dominates third game of City Series

Though down two games to none, Effingham made sure the brooms were stored away in the final game of the annual event.

The Hearts managed to salvage one game of the City Series, defeating St. Anthony 14-8 at Bulldog Field.

"Winning this one game means a lot because they're a good team and they're all great girls who know how to play the game," Boone, the lone senior on the team, said.

The Hearts scored seven runs in the third, five in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Boone, Bierman, Donaldson and Althoff had two hits. Armstrong, Harvey and Kirk had one.

As for the Bulldogs, Coffin had three hits. Wernsing, Neibrugge, Maddie Kibler and Schultz had two and Hatton and Gannaway had one.

St. Anthony honored its senior players before the game. This year's group consisted of Maddie and Sydney Kibler, Hatton, Wernsing, Niebrugge, Coffin and Vonderheide.

"I was looking at numbers the other day. It's crazy to think that they were playing as freshmen and they play so great together," head coach Makayla Taylor said. "I was looking at their record the other day and they're 97-21."