Four local teams still alive in playoffs
When Oak Lawn loaded the bases in the first inning of Saturday’s Class 4A Mother McAuley Regional championship game, the casual onlooker might have concluded something unsettling was brewing for the host Mighty Macs.
But a closer examination would have revealed that McAuley starting pitcher, freshman Holly Marousek, was in the circle for the first time in almost two weeks after recovering from a chest infection. And she was throwing to Emily Rux, who was filling in for an injured Alex Brown behind the plate.
Marousek pitched out of that jam and shut down the Lady Spartans the rest of the way, giving up just five hits while striking out 11 batters. Meanwhile, the Macs’ own bats came alive just enough for them to capture a 3-0 victory in the title clash.
Jennifer Crowley got McAuley (23-4) on the board with an RBI in the third inning and Rux added insurance runs in the fifth by clubbing a two-RBI double. That was plenty of support for Marousek, who was also aided by solid defense.
“We started out the game a little rocky, but we got out of it and scored a big win,” Macs coach Colleen Kilduff said. “Holly really settled down after the first inning by pitching with some good control and the defense really backed her up the rest of the game.
“I was a little worried at first about Holly [with this] being her first game back in almost two weeks. But she and everybody else did their job.”
That included on offense.
“Oak Lawn’s pitcher was throwing much harder than we planned for, so it took a few innings to get our timing going at the plate,” Kilduff said. “Once we got it, we started putting the ball in play and forcing them to make the plays.
“We’ve learned from years past that everybody plays their best ball in the playoffs. Occasionally, it’s come back to bite us when we underestimate a team. We came in shaky, but we didn’t take Oak Lawn lightly and the girls [eventually] executed.”
Kilduff was also happy about Rux’s effort as the substitute for Brown, who suffered a concussion last Wednesday.
“I’m very pleased with Emily’s performance Saturday,” Kilduff said. “Alex will be re-evaluated this week and hopefully will be ready [for the Reavis Sectional semifinal against Sandburg].”
Reily McTeague went 2-for-3 to lead the Lady Spartans (16-18).
The Lady Spartans reached the regional championship game by beating Morton 5-3 earlier in the week.
Ashley Labuda’s two-run double in the bottom of the sixth erased a 3-2 deficit as it followed a walk and Hayden Landingham’s single. Kaleigh Hayes added an RBI single after Labuda’s hit.
Labuda then made a great defensive play by spearing a liner for the game’s final out, which stranded two Morton baserunners. And she wasn’t the only Oak Lawn player to shine on defense. Second baseman Kacie Heeter flagged down Susan Ghuneim’s hard grounder in the sixth and retired the side, forcing Morton to leave two other runners on base.
When Jamie Alberts reached on an error, McTeague singled and Marisa Loya drove a double to the fence, Oak Lawn grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Lady Spartans had other opportunities between the second and fifth frames but either ran themselves out of scoring chances or stranded baserunners against pitcher Alyssa LaCour.
A 4-0 lead over Lyons Township on Saturday disappeared by the sixth inning, which is when Lady Lions sophomore Riley Frisbie clubbed a two-run homer. Her blast came on the heels of a three-run eruption by the visitors one inning earlier.
Marist, however, refused to roll over in its own Class 4A regional final. One out away from playoff elimination, the Lady RedHawks were rescued by Brooke Wyderski, who belted a solo homer to extend the contest.
“I just wanted to keep the inning alive,” Wyderski said. “I just wanted to get on base so Brooke Wilson could bat, too.”
Wyderski, who went 2-for-3 and scored twice, wasn’t Marist’s only heroine. Also stepping forward were Madison Naujokas (two doubles, two RBI) and freshman Alexis Rogers, whose 10th-inning single drove in Vanessa Villasenor and handed the Lady RedHawks a 6-5 victory.
The win moved Marist (28-8-1) into the Reavis Sectional, where they met Richards this past Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs beat Shepard 4-1 to claim their regional crown.
“The plan was just to get a base hit, score the runner and win the game for my team,” Rogers said. “It felt so good. I think it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt in my life to just come through.”
Rogers’ hit made a winner of Zariya Gonzalez, who pitched all 10 innings for the Lady RedHawks. She scattered 10 hits while fanning seven and walking just one.
Wyderski and Rogers both said the game was played in front of the biggest home crowd they had seen this season.
“They support us a lot and like coming to our games, so I just knew I had to get the job done,” Rogers said.
Before tangling with Lyons, the Lady RedHawks drilled Washington 10-0 last Wednesday in a regional semifinal. That contest was preceded by a 3-2 win over Lincoln-Way West that concluded the regular season.
Wyderski (two-run double) and Naujokas (two-run single) were again offensive ringleaders versus the Lady Patriots, while Gonzalez stopped Washington on three hits. She whiffed five.
Gonzalez was the pitcher of record against the Lady Warriors as well. In addition to tossing a six-hitter, Gonzalez also blasted her second homer of the season. Jill Kenney’s single in the sixth supplied Marist with its deciding margin.
The Lady Bulldogs (22-8) captured the Class 4A Hinsdale South Regional championship on Saturday by topping South Suburban Conference Red rival Shepard. They nailed down their berth in the final with a 10-5 triumph over Hinsdale South last Wednesday.
Sara Kiziak (17-6) went the distance in the circle versus the Lady Astros and stopped them on four hits while fanning eight. She also went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI double and two runs scored. Molly Pohrebny and Hailey Czerwinski both chipped in RBI singles to further aid Richards’ cause.
The Lady Bulldogs had several contributors to a 14-hit offense against Hinsdale. Czerwinski produced three hits and an RBI, while Emily Wetzel (homer), Maddie Little (homer, two RBI), Holli Jones (homer), Pohrebny (double, two RBI) and Jordan Battels all chipped in two hits.
Wetzel’s round-tripper was her 11th of the season and it put Richards ahead 3-0 in the opening stanza. The Lady Bulldogs added three more runs in the third, another in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Andrea Stengle (16-6) got the win after striking out five over four innings. Sara Tobin relieved her in the fifth but eventually got replaced by Stengle, who returned to the circle to register the last two outs.
The Lady Eagles began last week with an 11-0 win over Stagg in the semifinals of their own Class 4A regional and then won the championship with an 8-1 verdict over Hinsdale Central on Saturday.
Sarah Herold was last Wednesday’s catalyst as she slugged a two-run homer for Sandburg in the first frame and complemented that hitting with a two-hit shutout of the Lady Chargers. She struck out nine in the five-inning contest.
In between, the Lady Eagles (20-15) produced plenty of offense as they pounded out 11 hits against two Stagg pitchers. Emily Griskell went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI to lead the way, but Bri Soltis (homer), Katie Krzus and Brooke Heimerl all helped out with 2-for-3 performances.
Sandburg exploded for an eight-spot in the fourth as Soltis swatted her homer, Griskell poked a two-run single and Heimeral hit safely twice. Kyla Frain and Noor Elmosa were the only Stagg players to hit safely.
The game was the final one for Lady Chargers coach Missy Mason, who will continue teaching at the school and serving as the girls’ golf coach.
Karli McLaughlin (2-for-3, two runs) hit a two-run homer to key the Lady Eagles’ triumph over Hinsdale. Herold pitched four scoreless innings for Sandburg, allowing two hits and striking out six.
The Lady Knights’ season came to an end last Wednesday in an 11-1 defeat to Beecher in the semifinals of the Class 2A Reed-Custer Sectional.
Davina Gutierrez was 2-for-3 for Chicago Christian (14-16). Gutierrez pitched her way out of a bases-loaded first-inning jam by inducing a lineout to third baseman Bre Vollan for a double play, but she was unable to keep the Lady Bobcats completely under wraps.
After Beecher went on up 3-0 in the second, the Lady Knights notched their only run in the third. Kaycee Pittman singled in Emily Vilendrer, who had also gotten a hit.
The Lady Mustangs opened last week with an 11-0 victory over Timothy Christian in the Class 3A Wheaton-St. Francis Regional, but they fell short of the host school 11-10 in Saturday’s championship clash.
Caroline Andrade’s two-run homer and RBI single paved the way for Evergreen Park (20-14) in its five-inning rout of the Lady Trojans on Wednesday. Lady Mustangs pitcher Maddie Vojacek spun a one-hitter and struck out seven.
Vojaeck (3-for-4) hit a three-run homer and Bethany Salazar added a two-run shot for Evergreen in its high-scoring loss to Wheaton.
Before being taken down by Richards, the Lady Astros rolled to a 15-0 victory over Eisenhower in last Wednesday’s Hinsdale South Regional semifinal.
Melissa Kelly was Shepard’s standout in its win as she fired a two-hitter spiced with seven strikeouts and also drove in two runs while going 2-for-3 at the plate. Also heard from were Jenna Huizenga (3-for-4, three RBI), Skylar Hilger (3-for-4) and Allyssa DeChene (3-for-3, two RBI).
The Lady Astros concluded their season at 19-10.