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updated: 4/22/2014 9:26 PM

Neuqua's Bilgri wins pitchers' duel

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By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

Tuesday's St. Charles East at Neuqua Valley softball game didn't contribute much to the scoring-highlight videos of either team.

But the Wildcats got what was most important, a 1-0 victory over the Saints to move to 7-8 overall and remain undefeated at 5-0 in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division.

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"This was definitely a bigger game with them finishing second in state last season," said winning pitcher Megan Bilgri, who struck out nine in going the distance against St. Charles East (12-4, 6-1 UEC River).

If the scoring highlights were limited, it was because of both pitchers. Saints starter Haley Beno (7-3) went the distance, surrendering just the lone run on 3 hits, and she struck out five.

"We just missed one hit to bust the game open. There was good pitching and good defense from both sides," said Saints coach Kelly Horan said. "Haley doesn't get enough credit. She has kept us in every single game."

The Wildcats' lone run came in the bottom of the first. With one out Jenny Budds' well-placed groundball resulted in an infield hit and she moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on Jamie O'Brien's groundball out.

Then with two out Colleen Hill stepped to the plate and came through with a single to right to score Budds.

"(The count) was 3-2 and I just wanted to drive the ball and score Jenny and help Megan win the game," Hill said. "Coach (Melissa Wilson) said we had to come today with intensity. The game was not going to be handed to us."

Aryana DiBernardo walked to lead off Neuqua's second, but Beno retired the side in order. Budds singled to right in the third and was out at second on an attempted double play, and then Neuqua went down in order the final three innings.

"I'm thrilled with the win. We've just been battling through, trying to figure out what type of team we are," Wilson said. "Megan really shut down their offense. We got good defense and were able to get the run across. I'm thrilled, but we still need to work to get better."

"I felt good out there. My riseball worked well against a lot of their hitters," Bilgri said.

St. Charles East put two runners on during three innings and one runner on twice but couldn't get them across.

Kate Peterburs had the biggest day for her team, going 3-for-3 with a triple to right in the third. Leadoff hitter Tess Hupe was 2-for-4 with a double to left in the seventh.

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