AURORA – Junior outfielders Jessica Wade and Lauren Murray both hit their second home runs of the season Thursday, part of an offensive explosion for the Rosary softball team in the Royals’ 12-0, five-inning win against Plano in an IHSA Class 3A Rosary Regional semifinal.
“Both girls have got that ability,” Rosary coach John Kazmierczak said. “It’d be nice if they can continue this on Saturday [in the regional final against Kaneland].”
Cara Smoczynski pitched five innings of two-hit ball and added a double and triple offensively for the Royals (12-18), while teammate Katherine Witte and Wade each added three hits.
Now the Royals turn their attention to the regional final against heavily favored Kaneland, which swept a recent doubleheader against the Royals.
“Some teams pride themselves on .400 [batting averages] in softball but we’re not there, so to give our team a shot we’ve got to play super defense,” Kazmierczak said. “I think if we do that, it’ll be competitive against Kaneland. It’s just a matter of getting on top and staying on top.”
IHSA Class 2A Lisle Sectional: At Benedictine University, upstart Aurora Central Catholic continued its unexpected postseason run, crushing Walther Lutheran, 12-0, behind a complete game pitching win from Paige Miller.
The Chargers advance to Saturday’s sectional championship game.
IHSA Class 3A Payton Regional: Wheaton Academy pounded Jones Prep, 10-1, in a regional semifinal.
The Warriors (10-10) got doubles from Marissa Gagliano, Jess Bosse and Gina Graff. Michelle Ridderhoff (9-9) earned the pitching victory.
Wheaton Academy advances to face Montini in Saturday’s regional final.
IHSA Class 3A Burlington Central Regional: Burlington Central rode a strong pitching performance from Danny Gerke (6 2/3 innings, two unearned runs) to beat Marengo, 6-2, in a regional semifinal.
Michael Scott had two hits for the Rockets (15-12), who advance to Saturday’s regional final against Hampshire.
IHSA Class 3A Kaneland Regional: The regional’s top seed, St. Francis, knocked off Plano, 6-3, in a semifinal. The Spartans advance to face the winner of today’s Kaneland-Sandwich game in Saturday’s regional final.
Aurora Christian competes in state prelims: At Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Jake Gehman paced Aurora Christian’s contingent of qualifiers for Saturday’s Class 1A state finals. Gehman advanced as an individual in the 800 meters and as part of the 4x200 and 4x400 relays.
The 4x200 team of Gehman, Josh Schien, Grant Schweistal and Johnathan Harrell won its heat in 1:32.77. Jonah Walker (discus) and Schien (pole vault) also advanced.
Prelims for Class 2A and 3A are set for today.