Melinda Wilson Powers Blue Ridge Softball to Victory over Flanagan-Cornell

Melinda Wilson's teammates greet her at home plate after she hits her second home run of the game.

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- On a Friday in which the seniors were the center of attention, a junior named Melinda Wilson stole the show.

Wilson hit home runs in the first and third innings to spark the Lady Knights to an 11-1 six-inning victory over Flanagan-Cornell.

Wilson's first home run, a two-runner which sailed over the right-field fence, broke a 1-1 tie after Jade O' Neal hit a sacrifice fly ball to score Jordyn Fones for the tying run. The homer sent Marcie Crawford, who advanced to third base on the sac fly.

Wilson's second dinger was smacked over the left-field fence to increase Blue Ridge's lead to 4-1. She finished the game hitting 3-for-3 with a double and a walk.

The Lady Knights scored five runs in the fifth inning. O'Neal hit a two-run homer after Jordan Wheeler led off the inning with a walk.

Wilson scored the next run from second base on a Hannah Mattingly bunt. After Wilson walked and took second on a wild pitch, Mattingly's bunt was fielded by Flanagan player who overthrew the first baseman; Mattingly ended up on second base.

After Mattingly advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kalyn Reynolds, Jamison Brandt drove her home with a base hit down the middle. Fones hit an infield single to send Brandt home.

In the sixth and final inning of the game, Wilson's double put runners on second and third base. Then Mattingly hit a two-RBI double to end the game.

Wheeler improved her pitching record to 13-3 after striking out eight batters and allowing one run on one hit and three walks. One of those walks occurred with the bases loaded to give Flanagan-Cornell a 1-0 lead.

Blue Ridge ended the first and second innings with double plays to bail Wheeler out of some jams. From there, Wheeler retired the next 12 batters.

"It was the best game, period," Lady Knights coach Myron Schroeder said. "It was kind of like we wanted it more. I think we played well today."

Prior to walking in the sixth inning, O'Neal hit a foul ball that made hard contact with Schroeder. After a delay of a few minutes and an apology from O'Neal, he walked back to the dugout, leaving assistant coach Aimee Thacker to manage the rest of the game from third base.

Schroeder says he is fine, and he should be able to manage the Lady Knights' next game. Blue Ridge is now 19-4 overall and 7-2 in the Heart of Illinois Conference and will host a Monday conference matchup against El Paso-Gridley.

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