The St. John Lady Hornets Softball Team in Chester has advanced to the state tournament this week by winning the 2021 Class S Regional Tournament. The regionals were hosted by Red Bud Catholic Grade School, and en route to their title the Lady Hornets defeated Prairie Du Rocher, St. Boniface and Red Bud Catholic.
The tournament had seven teams: New Athens, Prairie Du Rocher, Red Bud Catholic, Red Bud Lutheran, St. Boniface Catholic of Edwardsville, St. John Lutheran of Chester and Valmeyer.
The Lady Hornets beat Prairie Du Rocher in their first game, to advance to the semifinals against St. Boniface on Sept. 23. St. Boniface proved to be a worthy opponent as Chester won by only one run, 7-6.
"It came down to the wire," Assistant Coach Tracy Mott said. "The game was tied in the bottom of the 9th when Joella Eggemeyer singled on a 0-2 count to score the winning run."
The 2021 Lady Hornets are coached by Head Coach Justin Frazer, who is assisted by Jeff Mott and Tracy Mott. The 2021 roster has 12 players. 8th graders are Aubrey Coleman, Macy Bert, Lexie Mott, Lillian Diskey and Camryn Wolff. 7th graders are Joella Eggemeyer, Avery Hasemeyer and Aubrey Colvis. 6th graders are Hannah Crow, Mallorie Homan and Addison Coffey. The lone 5th grader is Brystol Stellhorn.
The Lady Hornets compete in the Ohio Valley Conference and had a 3-2 conference record. Their overall regular season record was 13-3.
Against St. Boniface, both offenses were strong at the plate. St. John collected nine hits and St. Boniface had 11. St. Boniface drew first blood in the first inning when an error scored one run. St. John answered with a run to tie the game, after one inning of play.
Neither team scored in the second inning, but St. Boniface added two runs in the top of the third to lead, 3-1.
St. John was silent until the bottom of the 4th when they scored one run to trail, 3-2. But in the 5th inning, St. John added four runs to take their first lead of the game, 6-3. During that run, Macy Bert hit a single, Lexie Mott grounded out and Avery Hasemeyer smashed a double.
That lead held until the top of the 7th when St. Boniface tied the game at 6-6.
The contest remained tied until the bottom of the 9th (extra innings) when the Lady Hornets' Joella Eggemeyer hit her walk-off single to break the tie and win the game, 7-6.
Lexie Mott pitched for St. John, giving up six runs on 11 hits. For St. John, Avery Hasemeyer, Lillian Diskey and Lexie Mott each contributed two hits apiece to lead the Hornets. Lillian Diskey also had a pair of steals.
With the win, Chester improved to 15-3 for the season and advanced to the Championship game to face Red Bud Catholic on Sept. 27.
This time, it wasn't close. The Lady Hornets won a resounding 7-1 victory over Red Bud Catholic.
The Lady Hornets got things started in the top of the first inning when Camryn Wolff doubled to score two runs. St. John added two more runs in the top of the third and again in the top of the fifth to lead 6-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Red Bud scored its only run of the game. St. John added an insurance run in the top of the 7th and that was enough to secure the victory and the regional championship title.
Lexie Mott pitched for the Lady Hornets, and allowed a stingy three hits and one run, striking out 10 batters and walking one.
St. John had 10 hits as Avery Hasemeyer, Camryn Wolff, Aubrey Coleman and Lexie Mott each had multiple hits for the Hornets. Hasemeyer went 3-for-3 at the plate.
With the win, Chester's St. John Lady Hornet's Softball Team earned the title of 2021 Class S Regional Softball Champions and improved to an overall record of 16-3. The Hornets advanced to the 2021 Class S State Tournament in Coulterville.
Assistant Coach Jeff Mott said he's been impressed with how much the girls improved throughout the season.
"They are such a fun group to coach and are a blast to be around," he said.
He said it's no shock to him the Lady Hornets are in the state series, with five tough 8th graders.
"These girls have all had the 'refuse to lose' attitude ever since I can remember," Mott added. "The one thing I know for sure is that they will leave it all on the field. Go Hornets!"