ADDISON – In postseason softball, squandering prime scoring chances often leads to postgame heartache.
While leaving runners in scoring position bit St. Charles North on a couple occasions Saturday morning in the IHSA Class 4A Addison Trail Regional championship game, it did not stop the North Stars from completing their mission of defeating Bartlett, 5-2.
The fourth-seeded North Stars will play top-seeded Glenbard North on Tuesday in an IHSA Class 4A Bartlett Sectional semifinal.
“If you ask me, this could have been a sectional final I think,” North Stars coach Tom Poulin said after North topped the fifth-seeded Hawks. “This game featured two great teams in a just a great game today. We knew this was not going to be an easy game.”
The Hawks certainly did not make it easy on the North Stars early as they grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a lead-off triple by second baseman Katie Fornoff. She scored when shortstop Kayla Habersmith doubled her home. However, Habersmith was stranded at second after a groundout and a strikeout by North Stars pitcher Sabrina Rabin.
The North Stars loaded the bases in the second and third innings but failed to score on both occasions.
“You need to make the most of every opportunity to score runs now,” Poulin said. “We missed a sign and we were apprehensive at times during those innings. Thankfully, those innings did not cause us to have our season ended. I just want our seniors to enjoy this moment because they have earned it.”
The North Stars (23-8) made inroads in the bottom of the fourth off a lead-off double by Allison Hausl and a bomb to the left field fence by Rabin which would turn out to be an inside-the-park home run.
The North Stars added two more runs in the fifth inning on a double by first baseman Abby Howlett. That was followed by a triple off the bat of second baseman Kaitlyn Waslawski to deep center field, scoring Howlett. Waslawski would cross home plate after a base hit by Hausl, making it 4-1 after five innings.
“This is something we really wanted today,” Rabin said. “We have been wanting a regional title now for a couple of years. But it was also a fun game for us today and we did not want to lose sight of that today. We were just waiting for that one big hit today and it did finally happen in that one inning.”
Waslawski went 3 for 4 while Rabin, Howlett and Hausl had two hits each for North.
The Hawks' last stand came in the top of the sixth inning when they would score a second run and load the bases with two outs but could not do any further damage with the score 5-2 heading into the final inning.
It was the second time this season Bartlett (27-8) fell to North after the Hawks dropped the teams' regular season meeting, 3-2.
“Todays was just a really good game between two really good teams,” Hawks coach Jim Wolfsmith said. “Our pitcher, Holly Pagan, pitched a great game despite not winning. We just didn’t get the key hits today when we needed them.”