Lady Eagles feeling super after winning sectional over Marist
Against a high-powered offense like Marist’s, Sandburg knew it needed a combination of strong pitching, stout defense and just enough hitting to slow the Lady RedHawks in the Class 4A Reavis Sectional final.
The Lady Eagles hit the trifecta on Saturday in Burbank. Sarah Herold tossed a five-hitter over five-plus innings, she was backed by solid glove work, and Karli McLaughlin’s one-out single provided the deciding margin in a 2-1 outcome.
Sandburg’s triumph placed it in this past Monday’s North Central College Supersectional versus Naperville Central.
The result also concluded the coaching career of Denise Bromberek at Marist. She is relocating out of state with her family after spending 12 years in charge of the Lady RedHawks’ varsity program.
Emily Griskell had the Lady Eagles’ other RBI and also relieved Herold, who struck out five, in the sixth to earn a save. Griskell allowed just one baserunner while registering the game’s final four outs.
“They did awesome in the circle,” McLaughlin said of her two teammates. “Both of them hit their spots very well. Emily did a great job [after] coming in and Sarah did a great job holding them throughout.”
Marist (29-9-1) came into the contest averaging eight runs per game in three postseason outings, but it didn’t tally here until the sixth. The Lady RedHawks managed more than one hit in only one stanza.
“I did not expect it to be low-scoring,” Bromberek said of the game. “I expected us to score first and [for] us to continue to keep scoring.”
Sandburg (22-15) didn’t exactly tee off on Marist starter Zariya Gonzalez, either, but Griskell’s single drove in the Lady Eagles’ initial run in the second inning. Courtesy runner Lauren Schultz, who was in for McLaughlin (single), crossed the plate on Griskell’s hit.
“I felt like we all wanted to come out here and show what we got, so scoring first really kind of put the game into perspective,” Griskell said. “I feel like we had energy the whole time — even when they scored against us, we didn’t let it keep us down. Knowing that we were on top of the energy instead of them, it was kind of exciting.”
Scoring on McLaughlin’s sixth-inning hit was Maddie Hanley.
“I just remember being real calm and just knowing that I had to get one through to score a run,” McLaughlin said. “It was big because Marist is a good team and they’re known to come back, so we needed more runs so we were safe. We did a great job holding them.”
McLaughlin’s RBI loomed particularly large after the Lady RedHawks broke through against Herold in the bottom of the sixth. Vanessa Villasenor’s two-out double brought in Julie Trellicoso, who had beaten out an infield hit.
Prior to that, Herold had pretty much been in control.
“My screwball’s my best pitch,” she said, “and it seemed to move really well [on Saturday], especially against their best hitters.”
Having competent fielders stationed behind her helped, too.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have pitched as good, so it’s nice to have them backing me up,” Herold said. “The defense was awesome. I think we all just wanted it a little more, so that drove everybody.”
Gonzalez surrendered eight hits and fanned five in a losing effort.
Mother McAuley 0
Herold also baffled Mighty Macs batters last Wednesday, which led the Lady Eagles to a sectional-semifinal win.
Just three Mother McAuley players reached base against Herold and none ventured beyond first. She spiced her performance with four strikeouts.
Macs freshman pitcher Holly Marousek threw commendably, but after wriggling out of second- and third-inning jams she was nicked in the fourth for the only run Sandburg really needed. No. 9 batter Brooke Heimerl collected the RBI, which came immediately after Marousek had rung up her seventh strikeout.
McLaughlin and Kristen Zarate singled ahead of Heimerl, the latter’s coming on a bunt. McLaughlin and Zarate finished the day with five hits between them.
A Hanley double knocked in the Lady Eagles’ second run one inning later and a McAuley error on a ball hit by McLaughin allowed Hanley to tally.
McAuley ended its season at 23-5.
The Lady RedHawks punched their ticket to the sectional final by rolling past the Lady Bulldogs last Tuesday.
Interestingly, Marist did significant damage with little input from star player Brooke Wyderski, who went 0-for-3 for one of the few times in her prep career. That didn’t matter, however, as several other Lady RedHawks picked up the slack.
Seven of them, in fact, were credited with at least one hit. Four of those players notched a pair of safeties.
Brooke Wilson’s three-run double in the first inning was a pivotal blow, but Marist also received key hits from Amanda McIlhany, Trellicoso, Gonzalez, Villasenor and Madison Naujokas in its other scoring frames. Alexis Rogers and Wyderski each picked up an RBI on a groundout.
Gonzalez pocketed the pitching victory by firing a two-hitter and whiffing five. Sara Tobin’s third-inning homer was one of just four balls Richards (22-9) was able to put beyond the infield.