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Trailblazers Face No. 1 ICC in Semis of Rescheduled Region 24 Tourney

Article by: Pete Hayes, the Telegraph, phayes@thetelegraph.com

MATTOON — Mother Nature threw a couple curve balls at the NJCAA Region 24 Tournament over the weekend. As a result, the Lewis and Clark Community College Trailblazers got a couple days off.

Heavy rains Friday night made the fields at the Roundhouse Complex unplayable and officials elected to postponed Saturday’s play. Following Saturday’s rains, the tournament was pushed back yet another day.

“I truth, I was glad about Saturday being postponed,” L&C coach Ronda Roberts said. “Our charter bus got back (to Godfrey) about 2 a.m. Saturday morning and I’m glad we didn’t have to turn around, go back Saturday evening and play again.

“Sunday gave us yet another day rest.”

L&C, which posted a pair of victories Friday on the tourney’s first day, will play a semifinal game at 4:30 p.m. Monday against top-seeded Illinois Central College at the Roundhouse Complex.

If the Trailblazers defeat ICC, they’ll play for the championship Tuesday. Should they lose to ICC, they’ll play a consolation bracket game later Monday night with another shot at the title game.

The championship game is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday. If the team that advances from the winners bracket wins that game, the issue will be settled. If the finalist from the consolation bracket wins, a second title game will be played 30 minutes after the first title contest to decide the champion.

Sixth-seeded L&C (24-24) worked late Friday night to down No. 2 seed Lincoln Land 7-4 in a second round game to put them into the semifinals. The game ended around 11 p.m. Earlier in the day, they defeated No. 3 Heartland Community College 7-3 in their tournament opener.

“It feels good to knock off the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the tourney,” Roberts said. “They both swept us during the regular season.”

Heartland defeated L&C four times during the season in a pair of doubleheaders. L&C lost 1-0 and 4-3 on March 26 and lost 7-1 and 2-0 on April 6.

Against Lincoln Land, the Trailblazers fell 6-0 and 54 on April 13 and 6-4 and 16-1 on May. But Friday, the numbers were leaning the Trailblazers’ direction.

Pitcher Sydney Henrichs, a freshman from Gillespie, went the distance in the circle in both games for L&C. In the nightcap victory over Lincoln Land, Henrichs scattered six hits, struck out three and walked four. In the opening win over Heartland, she struck out six, walked four and allowed six hits.

The Trailblazers had a 90-minute practice Sunday afternoon at L&C.

“We got the girls together to run, stretch and throw a little,” Roberts said. “Syd (Henrichs) looks good and rested. She’s ready to go.

“The girls are ready to rock and roll (Monday),” she said. “We’ve been talking about this tournament all year.”

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