Softball: Lindsay Melson, Reed Karsten carry Marengo to victory

Story Image Courtney Pych, of Providence, connects against Marengo at the Class 3A softball semifinals, Friday, June 8th, 2012 in East Peoria, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media

Updated: June 8, 2012 9:15PM

EAST PEORIA — You could feel the hush of the Marengo crowd when Reed Karsten, representing the winning run at third with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth, was caught halfway off the bag after a failed squeeze attempt.

That hush changed into a deafening roar after the throw to third sailed away into left field on the throw from Providence catcher Ellie Bartosz. Karsten scored for a 2-1 win and the Indians advance to defend their Class 3A state title at EastSide Centre.

“My teammates were like ‘That was the best mistake you ever made,’” said Karsten, who singled and was sacrificed to second by Abby Kissack. “This is exciting, state championship game again.”

Karsten was 2-for-4 and responsible for the game-tying run in the fifth when she hit a double to right center scoring Bethany Hart, who doubled to start the game.

Indians pitcher Lindsay Melson got out of a two-out bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth when she got Maeve Garvey to hit a foul ball flyout to third to end the inning. Melson, a transfer from Harvard this season, went the distance and allowed the only run by the Celtics (28-13) in the third on a two-out double by Amanda Wilson.

“We’re defending my teammates state title not mine,” said Melson, who struck out 10 and scattered seven hits. “I knew when Reed was on third base it was over. I have so much trust in her.”

The Indians (36-5) had four hits against Celtics starter Allie Strick and reliever Wilson.

“We felt like we had a good enough team to win our sectional and felt we could compete with any team down here after playing a mostly (Class) 4A schedule,” Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “We knew we weren’t going to run into anything we haven’t seen.

“In my opinion in the end we won, we just couldn’t make the key play.”

Morgan Green was 2-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch for the Celtics. Seven of the nine Celtics’ batters reached base at some point.

“It was a suicide and they threw one high and out,” Marengo coach Dwain Nance. “Most games are lost, not won. Lindsay came up with some big pitches and we didn’t make an error, which is key right there.”

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