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Trailblazers Eye Region Tourney in Mattoon

Article by: Pete Hayes, the Telegraph,

GODFREY — When Bethany Muenstermann clouted a go-ahead home run in the third inning of Monday’s doubleheader opener against Danville Area College, things looked bright for her Lewis and Clark Community College Trailblazers.

L&C was seeking to close the gap with Danville in the Region 24 standings and pick up some momentum heading into the upcoming region tournament. But the outlook clouded soon after.

Danville rallied to win Game 1 of the MWAC twin bill 6-5 and won the second game 9-3. The result leaves L&C at 22-24 overall and 8-16 in the region.

While being swept didn’t affect the region’s final standings for the Trailblazers, it didn’t sit well with their coach, Ronda Roberts.

“We had the opportunity,” Roberts said, “but we didn’t seize it. We were hoping to get some momentum but it didn’t happen. We made too many mistakes, not just physical ones, but mental mistakes too.”

The Region 24 Tournament will get under way Thursday at the Roundhouse Complex in Mattoon. L&C, which finished as the No. 6 seed, will play host and No. 3 seed Heartland at 3:30 p.m. And as far as Roberts is concerned, the region tourney is any team’s for the taking.

“This while year, anybody can win on any day in this region,” she said. “We stepped up against everybody else at one time or another all season.”

Illinois Central College finished No. 1 in the region standings, followed by Lincoln Land, Heartland, Parkland, Danville, L&C, Spoon River and John Wood College. Monday’s twin bill was also the Mid-West Athletic Conference finale for each team.

L&C’s Muenstermann, a sophomore from Jerseyville, indeed got things of on the right foot in Game 1 with a two-run homer to right-centerfield. But the Jaguars rallied with three runs in the fourth.

The Trailblazers tied it in the sixth with a single run, only to see Danville score three runs in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead.

The Trailblazers plated two in the bottom of the seventh. But Muenstermann was stranded at third representing the tying run and Allison Beckman was at second base as the game ended.

Beckman, Lauren Meadows and Peyton Tisdale each had a pair of hits in the game.

On the mound, Henrichs started and went four innings. scattering six hits, allowing three runs and walking one. Muenstermann pitched the last three innings, allowed four hits, three runs struck out one, walked one and allowed a home run by Kelly Smith.

In the nightcap, Danville jumped out to a 6-1 lead after the first inning and never looked back. The Trailblazers were out-hit 8-4 and committed six errors to aid the Jaguars’ cause.

Heading into Thursday’s region tournament opener, Roberts said that while there won’t be any momentum gained, neither will there be any looking back.

“That’s one thing about this team,” Roberts said. “They don’t quit. They didn’t today, even in that second game. And when we put it together, we can play with anybody.”

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