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Top-ranked Braves vanquish rival Highland
Belmont takes control of SRC race with 100 win over second-place Highland
Callie Douglas
Belmont's Callie Douglas hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning during the Braves' 31 win at River Ridge on Monday.

BELMONT — The much anticipated Six Rivers Conference showdown wasn’t even much of a game.

Top-ranked Belmont hammered second-place and previously undefeated Highland 10–0 in a SRC makeup game Friday night.

Coach Jeff Hodgson’s Braves belted out 12 hits, scored in four of the six innings, and senior ace Sadie Willborn struck out eight in a six-inning one-hitter as undefeated Belmont took control in the race for this year’s Six Rivers West title.

The Braves improved to 14–0 overall and 9–0 in league play. Meanwhile, the Cardinals fell to 14–1, 9–1. 

The two teams will meet again Tuesday to close out the regular season.

“I am excited that we held serve against Highland and won at home,” said Belmont head coach Jeff Hodgson. “Obviously the next game against them will be different. We are excited about where we are right now. We wish the tournament was starting this week but hopefully we can keep getting better and make a long run in the tournament.”

Junior McKenzie Reuter’s RBI double in the bottom of the first opened the scoring.

The Braves added three more in the second and broke the game open with four in the fourth.

Willborn helped her own cause with an RBI double in the second.

Fellow seniors Abby Althaus (single) and Nikki Knebel (double) followed with back-to-back RBI hits to make it 4–0.

Willborn added an RBI double in the fourth and Knebel plated a run with an RBI single.

“We got off to a got start in the bottom of the first inning and got some momentum,” added Hodgson. “We came back in and scored three more in the second. Once we got up 4–0 things started to fall our way. We played with a lot of confidence and played really well.”

Reuter’s RBI ground out capped the rally and gave the Braves and 8–0 lead against Highland ace Grace Pustina, who ended Belmont’s season a year ago with a 5–0 shutout in a WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal and shared 2018 Six Rivers West Player of the Year honors with Willborn and Potosi’s Jadyn Noonan.

Althaus singled to lead off the Belmont sixth and Knebel followed with her second double of the day.

After a strikeout, Reuter ended the game via the 10-run mercy rule with a two-run single to right field.

Reuter had two hits and four RBI on the day. Knebel finished 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Willborn went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Peyton Johnson also went 2-for-3 and scored a pair of runs for the Braves.

Belmont opened last week with a dominated 14–0 five-inning victory over visiting Pecatonica.

Junior Mackenzie Shelnutt and Willborn each went 3-for-4. Knebel finished with a pair of hits, including a triple, and drove in four runs.

Althaus (2-for-4) and Bridgett Miesen (2-for-3) also had mulitple hits in the win.

Willborn struck out 10 without a walk and allowed just two hits in four innings to earn the win.

A day later, Willborn struck out six in three no-innings in Belmont’s 17–1 blowout of visiting Monticello.

Junior Caitlyn Cushman had a season-high four hits in four at-bats and drove in three runs.

Senior Callie Douglas hit a two-run homer to highlight Belmont’s 14-run first inning. She finished with three RBI.

Monday afternoon, Douglas sparked the Braves’ 3–1 Six Rivers West victory at River Ridge with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning.

Douglas’ two-out, two run big fly over the centerfield field drove in Althaus and proved to be all the offense Belmont needed.

“We started off hot with a Callie Douglas two-run homer in the first, but after that we played a little flat,” said Hodgson. “Lucky for us, Sadie pitched very well. Their pitcher kept us off balance. They seem to give us a good game every time we go up there.”

Mason ripped an RBI triple in the fourth to cut Belmont’s lead in half, but the Braves added an insurance run in the top of the fifth on a Cushman RBI single.

Willborn (15–0) struck out eight and walked two in the complete game win, allowing one run on three hits.

Last Tuesday’s non-conference game at Fennimore was cancelled due to rain. 

The Braves (15–0, 10–0 SRC) hosted Potosi Tuesday afternoon and will now travel to Argyle Thursday before hosting the six-team Belmont Jamboree on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.


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Belmont 14, Pecatonica 0

(from Wednesday, May 1 @ Belmont)

Pecatonica 000 00 —   0   2  5

Belmont 371 3x — 14 13  0

Leading hitters — B: Sadie Willborn 3x4, Abby Althaus 2x3, Nikki Knebel 2x4, Mackenzie Shelnutt 3x3, Bridgett Miesen 2x3. 2B — P: McSherry. 3B — B: Nikki Knebel.

W — Sadie Willborn (11–0, 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 10K, 0BB). L — Green (4IP, 13H, 14R, 8ER, 2K, 1BB).


Belmont 17, Monticello 1

(from Thursday, May 2 @ Monticello)

Belmont (14)11 10 — 17 12  1

Monticello 000 10 —   1   5  2

Leading hitters — B: Peyton Johnson 2x4, Caitlyn Cushman 4x4. 2B — B: Peyton Johnson, McKenzie Reuter. HR — B: Callie Douglas.

W — Sadie Willborn (11–0, 2IP, 0H, 0R, 6K, 2BB). L — Klossner (0.2IP, 6H, 12R, 12ER, 0K, 4BB).


Belmont 10, Highland 0

(from Friday, May 3 @ Belmont)

Highland 000 000 —   0   1  2

Belmont 130 402 — 10 12  1

Leading hitters — B: Sadie Willborn 2x4, Abby Althaus 2x3, Nikki Knebel 3x4, McKenzie Reuter 2x4, Peyton Johnson 2x3. 2B — B: Knebel 2, Reuter, Willborn 2.

W — Sadie Willborn (1–0, 6IP, 1H, 0R, 8K, 2BB). L — Grace Pustina (5.2IP, 12H, 10R, 7ER, 9K, 0BB).


Belmont 3, River Ridge 1

(from Monday, May 6 @ Patch Grove)

Belmont 200 010 0 —  3   8  1

River Ridge 000 100 0 —  1   3  1

Leading hitters — B: Abby Althaus 2x3. 3B — RR: Mason. HR — B: Callie Douglas.

W — Sadie Willborn (15–0, 7IP, 3H, 1ER, 8K, 2BB). L — Jordyn Vogt (7IP, 8H, 3ER, 5K, 0BB).