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Francis Howell North topples Hazelwood West in sectional

Howell North softball 2016

Francis Howell North first baseman Janae Watkins scoops up a ground ball near the pitcher’s mound during a Class 4 sectional softball game at Hazelwood West High School Wednesday Oct. 12. [Jonathan Duncan/Mid-Rivers Newsmagazine photo]

Francis Howell North senior Megan Seigler dropped in a single to center field to chase home two runs in the third inning, and pitcher Elizabeth Davis made that small lead stand up, as the Knights prevailed for a 2-1 Class 4 sectional win on Wednesday afternoon at Hazelwood West.

“It will go down as a two-run single, it just found a hole and you don’t have to hit it hard always but you got to just put the bat on the ball,” Howell North coach Bob Dunahue said.

Howell North (15-7) moves on to the quarterfinal round and will play host to Troy on Saturday at 1 p.m. Troy knocked off Francis Howell to advance.

The Knights did not have much luck with baserunners for six innings against hard-throwing Hazelwood West hurler Alexandra Cafolla.

In the third inning, the Knights made their at bat count. Julia Hanan doubled to right center with one out and Austin Rowan struck out. Allison Murphy bunted for a single and stole second to extend the frame.

Then Seigler came through, dinking an 0-2 pitch for a single into center field, which dropped down in front of Hazelwood West centerfielder Chloe Johnson and the Knights were ahead 2-0.

Cafolla settled down after that and allowed just one Knights hitter to reach base in the the final three innings.

Hazelwood West (21-3) had little luck trying to solve Davis as the Wildcats managed an unearned run in the sixth inning. Davis gave up only two hits, struck out seven and walked two to get the victory.

“My focus today was to just throw strikes and let my defense work for me,” Davis said. “Moving the ball around so it wouldn’t stay in one spot and that way they really didn’t have a chance to time it down.”

Hanan and first baseman Janae Watkins both made timely defensive plays on hard, and tricky soft hit balls for the Knights.

A superb season for Hazelwood West came to a painful end in the sectionals.

“They fortunately found the holes with two baserunners on and when we found the hole we only had one baserunner on,” Hazelwood West coach Erica Thompson said. “Other than that it was an evenly played game.”This is an amazing group of girls and they have the heart and the desire and if we were going to go far it was with this group of girls and I’m sorry to see the season end.”

Howell North will be looking for its first win against Troy on Saturday after losing to them twice during the regular season.

“It’s very exciting,” Davis said.  “We moved on to the quarterfinals last year but I was injured so it’s kind of exciting for me to be able to compete this year and be able to help my team continue on and hopefully go to state.”


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