ADDISON – For two-and-a-half innings Tuesday afternoon at the Addison Trail regional, St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin’s intuition proved correct.
On Monday, Poulin watched Addison Trail demolish Larkin 17-0 to set up Tuesday’s meeting with North on the Blazers’ home field. North staked starter Sabrina Rabin a 2-0 lead after one inning but some timely Addison Trail hits and some sloppy play in the field from North allowed the Blazers to tie the score at 2 in the third.
While Poulin was right to respect the Blazers, he also knew that his team is a veteran squad with plenty of playoff experience. After Addison Trail tied the score, the North Stars came alive in the bottom of the inning, batting around and putting an eight spot on the board.
North plated two more runs in the fourth and held the Blazers in the fifth to earn a 12-2 run-rule victory to move on to the regional championship.
“We watched them Monday and they were aggressive and we thought they were solid,” Poulin said. “We gave them an extra out in back-to-back innings and in between innings there after they tied it up, we told them to tighten up and treat this like a tournament game and have that tournament mindset.”
North (22-8) quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a two-run homer from Alex Millett. The junior ripped an inside offering from Addison Trail pitcher Crystal Marinelli deep over the left-field fence that gave the North Stars an early lead.
Besides an infield error, Rabin had no trouble with the Blazers for the first two innings. In the third, Rabin walked nine-batter Nicolette Napoli before a two-out infield error on an Ari Renc grounder kept the inning alive for Danielle Ciaglia.
Ciaglia flared a Rabin pitch to center that scored Napoli. On the play, Ciaglia drew a throw to second that allowed Renc to scamper home. Renc barely avoided the tag from Millett that tied the game, 2-2.
“We were letting the ball play us a little bit and it’s a fast infield,” Poulin said. “The ball was kind of coming at us and we were backing up. It was good to kind of get some experience. After that, that was a nice inning we put together.”
North immediately responded by sending 11 players to the plate, scoring eight runs to take a commanding 10-2 lead. Mickey Goetz led off the frame with a walk and scored on an RBI single from Erin Nemetz. On the same play, the Addison Trail centerfielder over-ran the ball that allowed both Abby Howlett (reached via error) and Kaitlyn Waslawski (hit-by-pitch) to score.
Goetz came up later in the inning and rifled a triple to deep right that scored Jordyn Wolfe (single) and Andrea Beal (walk). Goetz finished the game 2 for 2 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI.
“We were a little mad that they got it to 2-2 so we just wanted to come back and get another chance at it,” Goetz said. “Coach says to not think about anything at the plate so that’s what I try to do.”
North added a pair of runs in the fourth after RBI hits from Nemetz and Beal made it 12-2. Rabin worked around an infield single and fielders-choice in the top of the fifth to put away the Blazers by mercy-rule.
North will play the winner of the Glenbard West – Bartlett contest. North has experience against both schools, with a 3-2 win against Bartlett earlier in the season.