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Bettis gets even, helps Belleville East crush rival West

📁 Softball, Spring 🕔03.May 2018
Bettis gets even, helps Belleville East crush rival West

4/24/18, STLhighschoolsports.com, By Steve Overbey, Photo by Tim Vizer,

BELLEVILLE • By her own admission, Belleville East senior pitcher Kristina Bettis was not at her best last week when the Lancers dropped a three-run decision to rival West.

“I wasn’t having a very good day,” Bettis recalled.

Bettis changed her fortune in a big way Tuesday afternoon.

The hard throwing right-hander tossed 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to propel East to a 12-3 win over West in the Southwestern Conference softball rematch at East.

Bettis also homered as the Maroons reeled off 11 unanswered runs after falling behind early.

“This is more like Lancers softball,” Bettis said.

Bettis wouldn’t claim revenge, but her teammates knew she was upset with her two-inning performance in the 7-4 loss on Thursday. She allowed six earned runs on five hits in the shortest outing of her 56-start career.

“I could tell she was mad,” said East senior infielder Jasmine Poore, who slammed a three-run homer on Tuesday.

Explained senior catcher Alex Boze, “We all knew she wanted redemption — and she got it.”

The Lancers were upset by the loss and were determined to make a statement in Round 2.

“This was our day, we were ready to play,” Poore said.

More than 200 former players, coaches and school administrators were there for a pre-game ceremony as Rita Menke Field became a reality.

“There was no way we were going to lose on Rita’s day,” Boze said. “We had to win this for her.”

The Lancers did Menke proud with one of their best performances of the season. They rallied from an early 3-1 deficit by scoring five times in the third and sixth innings.

East improved to 15-4 with its sixth win in the last seven games. The Lancers are 6-2 in the jumbled conference standings. West (8-6, 4-4) had won its previous six games by a combined 62-21.

Boze led a 16-hit attack with a 4-for-4 performance. Avery Patton chipped in with three hits and two RBI. Kenzie Crowder added two hits and drove in three runs as the top eight hitters in the order each reached safely by the fifth inning.

“We just challenged the girls to improve in every facet of the game,” East coach Natalie Peters said. “Pitching, catching, defense, offense, baserunning, it wasn’t perfect, but it was so much better.”

Bettis, who improved to 10-2, helped hold the Maroons in check. She struck out five, did not walk a batter and allowed just two hits after relieving Stephanie Bigham with the bases loaded and two out in the third inning.

The Lancers scored five times in the third off West starter Paige Cates. Bettis reached on an error and Boze followed with a one-out single to set the stage for Poore, who drilled a 220-foot shot over the wall in left field for a 4-3 lead. Alyssa Krausz kept the rally going with a single and Crowder added a run-scoring double to pump the advantage to 5-3. Patton chipped in with a run-scoring single to cap off the rally.

Bettis added her second home run of the season in the fourth. Krausz and Crowder put the game away with a pair of two-run hits in the sixth.

West entered the game with plenty of momentum, but came up short against the fired-up Lancers.

“We knew that they were a good team and they could hit the ball well,” Maroons coach Brian Geluck said. “We got them last week, they got us this week.”

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