EDGERTON — Stryker started with a bang on Thursday, but Edgerton responded with solid play to earn a sectional softball title.

After Stryker’s Sage Woolace belted a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, Edgerton scored seven unanswered runs as the Bulldogs won 7-3 in a Division IV sectional final at Edgerton.

“The one thing I love about this group is when we get down, we don’t quit. We keep fighting, we keep clawing and we keep bouncing back,” Edgerton coach Marchetta Caryer said. “That’s been the greatest thing to see as a coach from this group as a whole.

“The two-run homer, give it to her, she got it. But just to see the kids not hang their heads and come back with their bats and continue to keep swinging, I couldn’t be more proud.”

Edgerton (9-10), the No. 3 seed in the Bryan District, advanced to take on No. 2 Antwerp in a district semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Recreation Park in Bryan. Antwerp (10-4) scored in run in the bottom of the 10th inning to outlast Pettisville 5-4 in a sectional final on Thursday.

Stryker, the No. 7 seed, fell to 6-8.

Woolace’s blast over the left field fence scored Emmalee Fulk, who hit a one-out single, and quickly gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

Edgerton, though, racked up timely hits to take control.

Ashlyn Sleesman’s RBI double down the left field line scored Lola Giesige to cut Stryker’s lead to 2-1 in the first inning. Ella Miler blasted a two-run home run to center field in the second to score Grace Schroeder and give the Bulldogs a 3-2 advantage.

Sleesman smoked another RBI double to score Giesige in the fourth and make it 4-2 Edgerton, and Corinne Cape followed with an RBI single to score Sleesman. A pair of Stryker errors resulted in Cape rounding the bases to extend the lead to 6-2.

Holly Stark’s two-out RBI single scored Noelle Ritter as the Bulldogs built a 7-2 lead.

Overall, Edgerton pounded 12 hits, with seven players recording at least one. The Bulldogs committed just one error, while the Panthers had four.

“That’s the other great thing about this team; it’s not one person that does it,” Caryer said. “Somebody’s hot every night, so that’s also exciting to see.

“We contribute as a team. If it’s not one, it’s the other and then the teammates are excited for the ones that are getting it done for the night. Just as a coach from a standpoint there, that’s a huge accomplishment in itself having a group like that.”

Adysen Andres’ RBI single scored Taylore Rethmel, who led off the fifth inning for Stryker with a double, to cut Edgerton’s lead to 7-3. But that was all the Panthers could muster after their big start.

“Consistency has been something that our team has struggled with all season, and it’s got us in some good points and bad points,” Stryker coach Amanda Fritch said. “Tonight it got the best of us.”

Sleesman allowed just four hits in seven innings of work. She had 11 strikeouts, hit one batter and did not allow a walk.

Stark, who along with Sleesman and Schroeder are the lone seniors for Edgerton, slapped three singles. Miler added a single to her home run.

Giesige had two hits, Casey Everetts doubled and Nessa Cox singled.

Rethmel took the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. She had four strikeouts, including three in a row to end the first inning.

Haylee Fulk, one of two seniors for Stryker (Marissa Myers), pitched the final 2 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts.

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