The Norris City-Omaha-Enfield Lady Cardinal softball team kicked off IHSA Class 1A Regional Softball Tournament action Thursday afternoon in Vergennes. The Lady Cardinals were set to take on conference foe Crab Orchard on Wednesday afternoon, but wet playing conditions kept the game on hold until Thursday afternoon. Although the Lady Cardinals were victorious over the Lady Trojans in both meetings thus far this season, they were well aware that both victories were less than two runs, and in tourney play anything can happen.
This game got off to a rough start for the Lady Cardinals, when they found two errors accounting for the Lady Trojans first run of the game, as Crab Orchard took the early 1-0 lead. The Lady Cardinals answered back in the bottom of the second inning when they used a small ball attack to plate two runs and take the 2-1 lead. This lead was short lived after a controversial call in the top of the third inning which allowed Crab Orchard to score three runs and claim the lead back at 4-2. This score would stand until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Lady Cardinals took advantage of some errant pitching gain base runners. At this time, Mattie Wells came through with a clutch RBI hit followed by another 2 RBI blast off the left field wall by Natalie Wilson to give NCOE the 6-4 advantage heading into the final inning of play. Crab Orchard would strike again with another run in the top of the seventh inning but the NCOE defense would step up and retire the final out before anymore damage could be done allowing the Lady Cardinals to claim the 6-5 victory and advance to the Regional Championship game.
Leading the offense for NCOE (10-7) was Haleigh Poole, Natalie Wilson, and Emma Tauiliili as each collected a team high two hits in the game. Mattie Wells and Katie Wimer followed with one hit a piece. Wilson led the way with three RBI’s followed by K. Wimer with two, and Wells one. Those scoring runs in the contest were Madyson Barton, Mattie Wells, Haleigh Poole, Emma Tauiliili, Sarah Wimer, and Katie Wimer.
Pitcher, Erin Wicker, was victorious in the circle for the Lady Cardinals as she hurled a complete game allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits and striking out two.
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