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MTZ softball wins conference title

The Mt. Zion softball team posing with their Apollo Conference championship plaque.

Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion softball team went 4-0 last week picking up wins against Paris, Meridian and Mahomet-Seymour. The Braves won their first Apollo Conference championship since 2019 and for Head coach Greg Blakey the win against Meridian gave him his 750th career win.

“The Apollo by far was the most important one,,” Head coach Greg Blakey said. “We ‘ve worked hard and that was one of our goals this year to be Apollo champs. So that by far was the most important goal.”

The Braves struck first offensively against Meridian in the bottom of the first inning with their first batter. Kennedy Highley hit a homer over the centerfield wall that gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Meridian took the lead with two runs in the top of the second and one in the fourth to give them a 3-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Braves rallied with one out when Audri Johnson hit a double off the centerfield wall. Molly Besser and Jolie Shader followed with singles and then Ana Kanemaru placed a sacrifice bunt to bring in one run. Highley then hit a two RBI single to left field to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

The Hawks scored three in the top of the fifth to make it 6-4. The Braves got a run in the fifth and then in the bottom of the sixth Kanemaru led off with a single to left-field and stole a base. Addi Rotz then got her in with an RBI single to tie the game 5-5. Kayla Schnippel then hit an RBI double that rolled under the Meridian right fielder to give the Braves a 6-5 win.

“Last night and tonight we didn’t bring a whole lot of energy to the field,” Coach Blakey said. So, I appreciate the fact we came back and won, but we gotta bring more energy to the game and to the plate. And then defensively, we gotta bring more energy too.”

The Braves improved to 26-5 overall and 11-1 in the Apollo conference. This week the Braves will face Normal West and Washington and then start regional play against Eisenhower at Mt. Zion as the one-seed in their regional.

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