The postseason's feel-good story lacked an appropriate ending.
Being runner-up is certainly nothing of which to be ashamed, however, and that's where Sandburg landed after Warren defeated it 8-4 in the Class 4A softball final Saturday in East Peoria. The Lady Eagles were ahead 3-2 after four innings but were unable to hang onto the lead.
What made Sandburg's playoff run so impressive was that it followed a somewhat average regular season, one in which the Lady Eagles lost 15 times. But after dropping a decision to Lockport on May 23, Sandburg found another gear and peeled off seven straight victories to position itself opposite Warren.
Pitcher Sarah Herold cited the Lady Eagles' 4-3 triumph over Barrington in 13 innings one day after the setback against Lockport as the key element in their revival.
“Barrington, they’re a good team — everybody knows it,” Herold said after Sandburg's supersectional conquest of Naperville Central. “For us to just beat them, I think it really motivated us.
“[It was] like, ‘Listen, guys, we can do this. Yeah, we lost to Lockport or [Lincoln-Way] East, but we beat Barrington.’”
Herold, a postseason fixture for the Lady Eagles (24-16), battled uncharacteristic wildness early on versus Warren as she put two batters aboard in the top of the second inning by hitting them with pitches. That set the table for a two-run double.