Marengo earns fourth straight state crown

The Marengo Academy Lady Longhorns won their fourth consecutive state championship Saturday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

The Marengo Academy Lady Longhorns won their fourth consecutive state championship Saturday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

MONTGOMERY — Marengo Academy (27-3) earned its fourth consecutive AISA state title Saturday night with an 8-2 win over Lakeside School in the final round.

“It gets better every year. I enjoy this more than anything,” Marengo Academy head coach Danny Stenz said of the dynasty the MA program has built. “I think the one thing I could pick out (that is key to our success) is desire. They all have the desire.”

Andrea Edmonds struck out 11 in the final game and issued her only two walks of the entire tournament to get the win.

“I thought as a freshman last year, she had a tremendous performance,” Stenz said. “This year, I think she was even better.”

Her dominant performance included striking out the side in the seventh to end the contest. She also homered in the game.

Seniors Katie Tucker and Reesa Holifield, sophomore Andrea Edmonds and junior Chandler Stenz each earned AISA Class A All-Tournament honors Saturday. Stenz earned the Most Valuable Player nod.

Seniors Katie Tucker and Reesa Holifield, sophomore Andrea Edmonds and junior Chandler Stenz each earned AISA Class A All-Tournament honors Saturday. Stenz earned the Most Valuable Player nod.

Marengo opened the scoring in the first when eventual tournament MVP Chandler Stenz walked, stole second, moved to third on an Anna Michael Crocker sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball.

“They’re very unselfish,” Stenz said of his team’s approach to the game. “If I ask them to sacrifice bunt and give themselves up, they do it. Every time I called a sac bunt these last two days, it was down.”

The Lady Longhorns added to the lead in the second when Edmonds stroked a two-run shot to score herself and Conner Etheridge.

Lakeside made it a ballgame in the third with a two-spot of their own. But Marengo scarcely slowed down, scoring in every inning on the way to the win.

Stenz walked to open the third, stole second, moved to third on a grounder by Crocker and scored on a RBI grounder by Katie Tucker.

Stenz struck again in the fourth with a two-RBI double to plate Etheridge and Taylor Barley.

Marengo added another run in the fifth when Etheridge hit a RBI single to score Reesa Holifield, who reached via her second double of the contest.

The final run of the game came when Barley reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored on a Stenz RBI double.

Edmonds wrapped up the tournament with 24 strikeouts over 26 innings of work and limited opposing teams to only eight runs combined over four games.

Edmonds joined Tucker, Holifield and Stenz on the All-Tournament Team. For Chandler Stenz, MVP honors came just one day after an ankle injury forced her from the first game of the tournament.

“She’s a tough kid. She’s a tough out,” Danny Stenz said, turning his focus to how his second baseman and leadoff hitter has developed this season. “She’s a dual threat really. She can lay it down. And she’s developed a little more pop in her bat.”

The win marked the final contest for six MA seniors who will graduate never having finished any less than state champions.

“I’ve had these seniors since they were in the seventh grade,” the Marengo head coach said. “I can’t even begin to tell you how much they’ve meant to the program. I’ve coached them since they were nine or 10 years old probably. They’re so competitive. They’re hard to beat.”