The underdog role suited New London just fine here Monday afternoon.
Behind a complete game pitching performance from freshman Morgan Christner, the No. 10 Tigers stunned second-ranked and defending state champion Martensdale St. Mary's, 3-2, in a Class 1A quarterfinal at Rogers Sports Complex.
Christner (30-8), who is already receiving interest from several Div. I schools, yielded just four hits and two earned runs. She walked two and fanned eight, while helping her own cause offensively with a RBI double off the fence in left field.
Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
New London celebrates its win over Martensdale St. Mary’s after a Class 1A?state quarterfinal Monday at Rogers Park. For more photos, please visit CU?at www.messengernews.net
"It feels really good that we were able to beat the second-ranked team," said Christner, who came into state with the second most K's in 1A at 360. "At the beginning, we were very nervous. It took us awhile to get used to the crowd and the atmosphere of the state tournament.
"There was definitely a lot of pressure, but (as the home team), we knew we still had another at-bat if (the Blue Devils) scored. A win like this really opened our eyes that we can win state."
No. 4 Newell-Fonda (36-6) now awaits New London in a 1A semifinal Thursday at 11:30 a.m. on Diamond 2. The Mustangs coasted to a 14-1 four-inning triumph over eighth-ranked Remsen St. Mary's.
NEW LONDON 3, MARTENSDALE ST. MARY'S 2
MSM020 000 0-2 4 2
New London 102 000 x-3 4 1
Elizabeth Gerdes (L, 13-2; 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) and Vicki Kordick; Morgan Christner (W, 30-8; 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) and Emily Parks.
2B-MSM: Gerdes; NL: Christner. SB-MSM: Nicole Schutt, Jamie Jordan, Kyla Morris, Riley Verwers; NL: Caitlin Chiri, Parks. CS-MSM: Gerdes. MH-NL: Parks (2). RBI-MSM: Gerdes; NL: Christner, Parks (2). LOB-MSM 3; NL 4.
Emily Parks, a sophomore cleanup hitter, finished 2-for-3 with a pair of runs driven in, including the go-ahead RBI single in the third inning for the Tigers. Sami Koontz also crossed the dish twice, while Kristen Allen scored once and Sarah Holtkamp singled.
"I was so pumped after my (go-ahead single)," Parks said. "We worked hard during the offseason for this."
Elizabeth Gerdes contributed a double for the Blue Devils (30-3), while Nicole Schutt, Jamie Jordan and Riley Verwers all added singles. Gerdes also knocked in a run.
New London, which is making its third state trip, has now posted five consecutive wins.
"Our girls are just gelling so well together right now," said NL co-head coach Duane Blint. "This is a huge win for our program."
Martensdale St. Mary's, who has qualified for state six years in a row, will look to rebound against Remsen St. Mary's (28-7) in 1A consolation action Wednesday at 10 a.m. on Veterans' Diamond.