April 25, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Just four days earlier, the John A. Logan College softball team swept Olney 19-4 and 3-2 to close out the regular season. On Friday in Carterville, the tables were turned as Olney took a pair from the Volunteers, 4-3 and 11-0, in quarterfinal round action of the Region 24 tournament.

It’s the first time in more than six years that Logan has bowed out of the postseason in the opening round.

“We had opportunities in the first game and couldn’t cash in,” said Vols head coach Bruce Jilek. “We had a runner’s interference call early, which would have led to two more runs. And we still had a 3-2 lead in the seventh, but give Olney credit. They played hard and did a good job of coming back on us.

“As for the second game, we were never in it,” Jilek said. “Somebody has to go home and that is us.”

The Vols tallied one run in the first inning of the opener on an RBI single by Anna Mansfield and a second run in the second inning on a solo homer to left by Du Quoin native Kelsey Robinson.

Olney closed to within one at 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning, but Robinson’s RBI double in the bottom of the frame gave Logan a 3-1 lead.

The Blue Knights pulled within one again in the fifth at 3-2 on an RBI single by Alexis Lemon.

Vols’ freshman standout Jolyn Lake took that lead into the seventh, but ran into trouble. With one out and nobody on, Carterville native Chelsea Presley doubled against her hometown team. A throwing error by third baseman Brook Robbins allowed a pinchrunner to score from second, tying the game. Rachel Kane later drove in what proved to be the winning run with a single to right.

Logan got a leadoff bunt single by Taylor Price in the bottom of the seventh. Tiffany Gaimari grounded out to first, advancing Price to second. Mansfield then popped up to the pitcher and Heather Johnson flied out to right to end the game.

After two scoreless innings in Game 2, Olney broke free for nine runs on five hits in the third inning off Vols’ starter Sara Kroeger. The sophomore didn’t help her cause by walking three in the inning and she didn’t get enough help defensively as the Vols booted two balls on the infield, which led to multiple runs.

Logan only managed two hits in the nightcap, singles by Jessica Hirsch and Robbins.

Winning pitcher for Olney was Olivia Harrelson, who ironically, was knocked out of the game in the third inning Monday.

Logan finishes its season 23-20. The Blue Knights advance to the semifinal round of the Region 24 tourney next week at Kaskaskia College in Centralia with a 31-23 overall record.