For the third time in this season, the East Central College softball Falcons feel like they’re just starting the season.
ECC ended a stretch of having five doubleheaders in a row called off due to soggy field conditions by hosting John Wood Monday.
And ECC (7-5) pulled out a sweep of the visitors from Quincy, Ill.
In the opening game, the Falcons twice trailed in extra innings before freshman Haley Zenner (Dubuque, Iowa) smashed a three-run home run to give the Falcons an 8-5 win.
“The first game was a pitcher’s duel with a total of 21 strikeouts in 10 innings,” said ECC Head Coach Brad Wallach. “We came from behind three different times and Haley Zenner delivered the big blow with the game tied and two out in the bottom of the 10th.”
In the second game, ECC scored seven runs in the first two innings and held on to defeat John Wood, 9-7.
“In the second game, it was a matter of who would keep scoring,” Wallach said. “Chelsea (Bax, a freshman from Fatima) had a rough start but got control of things by keeping them off balance from the fourth inning on.”
ECC also endured a stretch of having one tournament and five doubleheaders called off at the start of the season and then having another stretch of three doubleheaders called off after playing four games.
The Falcons look to take advantage of good weather the rest of this week.
ECC hosted St. Charles Community College in a Midwest Community College Athletic Conference doubleheader Tuesday.
On Thursday, the Falcons host MCCAC rival St. Louis Community College at 2 p.m.
This weekend, the Falcons play at Kankakee, Ill., Community College. On Saturday, ECC takes on Oakland at 11 a.m. and Kankakee at 5 p.m. On Sunday, games are scheduled against Moraine Valley at 11 a.m. and Waubonsee at 1 p.m.
On Tuesday, the Falcons make the return trip to St. Charles at 2 p.m.
The remainder of the home schedule looks like this:
• ECC hosts Lindenwood-Belleville April 10 at 2 p.m.;
• The Falcons host Cottey College April 14 at noon.;
• ECC hosts Three Rivers April 16 at 2 p.m.;
• The Central Methodist JV team comes April 19 at 2 p.m.;
• Lewis & Clark comes to Union April 21 at noon; and
• The Falcons close the regular season April 22 against Southwestern Illinois College at 2 p.m.
ECC struck for two runs in the bottom of the third. John Wood took the lead with three in the fifth and the Falcons tied it in the bottom of the sixth.
From there, the teams tightened up.
Each team scored once in the ninth. In the 10th, the teams went to the international tiebreaker rule, where a runner opened the inning on second base.
John Wood scored once in the top of the frame. The Falcons tied it and had two runners on when Zenner delivered her game-winning home run.
For the game, Zenner was 1-5 with the home run, two runs and three RBIs.
Sophomore Julie Scheer (New Haven) went the distance for the Falcons. Over 10 innings, she allowed five runs (one earned) on nine hits and three walks. She struck out eight John Wood batters.
“Julie Scheer looked strong and confident in the pitching circle,” Wallach said. “When John Wood scored three runs off of her in the fifth inning, there were a lot of strange things happening. They weren’t hitting the ball hard.”
Sophomores Grace Fritz (Borgia), Chloe Galati (Borgia) and freshman Abby Job (Warrenton) recorded two hits each.
Fritz doubled and scored twice.
“Grace Fritz continues to do good things behind the plate and in the leadoff spot,” said Wallach.
Galati scored once and drove in two runs.
“Chloe Galati had a great day offensively and defensively,” Wallach said.
Alex Adelsberger (Timberland), a freshman, contributed one hit and a sacrifice.
Sophomore Kris Stevens (Union) scored twice and stole a base.
Freshman Michelle Bryant (Crocker) drew a pair of walks.
In the second game, John Wood scored twice in the top of the first, but ECC answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. John Wood tied it in the top of the second, but the Falcons added four additional runs.
In the third, John Wood cut the gap to 7-5. ECC scored twice in the fifth and that proved to be crucial as John Wood scored twice in the sixth.
Bax went the distance to earn the win. She allowed seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits and three walks. She struck out five batters.
Galati paced the offense with three hits, including a double. She scored and drove in one run.
Bryant posted two hits, two runs, one RBI and a walk.
Fritz, sophomore Amber Odom (Linn) and Stevens recorded one hit each.
Fritz scored, drove in a run and walked.
Odom doubled and scored.
Stevens doubled, scored twice and drove in two runs.
Job and freshman Brittany Miller (Lindbergh) scored once. Zenner drove in a run.
Job, Miller and Scheer each walked.