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Undefeated, top-rated SJO softball team finish the week, 4-0

In the first seven days of April and just nine games into the 2019 season, the legacy built by former St. Joseph-Ogden head coach Randy Wolken absolutely shows no sign of fading any time soon. Under first-year head coach Larry Sparks, the St. Joseph-Ogden softball team undoubtedly are once again sporting one of the largest bullseyes in Class 2A on their backs.

Zoey Witruk winds up for a pitch against Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. The junior picked up three pitching wins in SJO's last four games. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

The 9-0 Spartans are chewing up opponents with the intensity of Category 4 storm. In their wake this week alone, SJO has tallied nine home runs and outscored their opponents 36-5 in four games.

Only three other teams in their division can boast a 9-game or better win streak this season.

Tuscola, on a collision course with the Spartans in less than a month on May 6, is also undefeated with 12 wins this season. The Warriors, placed in the southern quad by the IHSA, will be playing through the Johnson City super-sectional for their shot at a state appearance along with 9-0 Edwards County.

The Beecher Bobcats, who will be playing for the Joliet College super-sectional title, is also undefeated at 10-0.

The Spartans will play in the Olympia sectional with teams from Argenta-Oreana, Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin, Oakwood, Georgetown-Ridge Farm, Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, Unity, Warrensburg-Latham, and Westville.

Here's a brief recap of this past week's action:

Dowling plasters two homer runs
Alabama commit and USA junior national team member Baily Dowling wasn't joking around on April Fool's Day. The senior started the four-game week off with two home runs for SJO. Meanwhile, junior Hannah Dukeman sent a ball yard herself in the 9-0 shutout on Monday.

Adding another win to her record this season, Zoey Witruk gave up one hit and fanned 13 in the six-inning affair.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 1 0 2 0 5 1 - 9 - -
Maroa-Forysth __  0 0 0 0 0 - - 0 - -

Witruk records 13 K's on Villa Grove
Junior Zoey Witruk struck out 13 Blue Devil batters for SJO in their 7-2 win over Villa Grove on Tuesday, April 2.

St. Joseph-Ogden seniors Savannah Smith, Katie Poulter and Bailey Dowling logged two hits apiece. Freshman Kennedy Hudson also had pair of hits to help extend the team's undefeated streak to seven games.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 1 1 2 0 3 0 - 2 - -
Villa Grove _____  1 0 0 0 0 1 - 2 - -

SJO scores 11, in one inning
Hosting Lincoln High School on April 3, St. Joseph-Ogden needed just five innings to blast the Railsplitters, 17-2. The Spartans tallied 18 hits in the non-conference victory.

SJO pounded a stunning four home runs with bombs from Hannah Dukeman, Kaylee Ward, Katie Poulter and Lauren Trankina.

Dukeman, who delivered four RBI, and Poulter tallied three hits apiece.

Ashtyn Cromwell threw a complete game for the win.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 1 1 11 5 - - - 17 - -
Lincoln ______      0 0  1 1 - - -   2 - -

Spartans score three runs on Tri-Valley
In a complete game from Zoey Witruk the Spartans knocked off the Vikings, 3-1. Witruk, who gave up four hits, struck out 14 batters in the road victory. Katie Poulter put the ball out of the park for the ninth Spartan home run for the week. Catcher Hannah Dukeman notched two hits on Saturday.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 3 - -
Tri-Valley ____      0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 - -

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What they said . . .

Games like this; going into it, you know, you just have to have fun with it.