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Weekend in review: Area teams seize regional titles

Published: Monday, June 2, 2014 7:34 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 2, 2014 8:30 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Jeff Krage for Shaw Media)
With the score tied at five, Burlington Central's Courtni Neubauer races toward home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning as Kaneland's Rachel Goress (right) gets ready to make a throw during Saturday's IHSA Class 3A regional championship at Burlington Central. Neubauer scored and the Rockets defeated the Knights, 6-5.

Four area softball teams and three area baseball teams won regional championships on Saturday while others fell short.

Here's a quick recap of Saturday's dramatic day on the diamonds for area teams, and what's up next.

IHSA Class 4A St. Charles East Softball Regional: St. Charles East 5, Elk Grove 2

The skinny: Trailing 2-0, St. Charles East (30-6) scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth – including a tying, two-run home run from Mackenzie Lofgren and RBI singles from Olivia Cheatham and Alex Latoria – to eliminate the 29-win Grenadiers. East's No. 8 and 9 hitters – Mackenzie Meadows and Lofgren – combined for four hits as the Saints overcame a pair of solo homers by Elk Grove in the top of the first.

The quote: "I think that a lot of people underestimate the end of the order so I think it's always refreshing when we come up and we perform and we show them, 'Don't roll over on us because we're not rolling over on you,' " Lofgren said. "Keep them on their toes. I don't think that they were ready for that at all."

Next: vs. Conant in 4A Bartlett Sectional Semifinal, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

IHSA Class 4A Addison Trail Softball Regional: St. Charles North 5, Bartlett 2

The skinny: Sabrina Rabin had an inside-the-park home run and pitched a complete game and Kaitlyn Waslawski notched three hits as North (23-8) defeated Bartlett for the regional title. The North Stars overcame leaving the bases loaded on a pair of occasions.

The quote: “You need to make the most of every opportunity to score runs now,” North coach Tom 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.”

Next: vs. Glenbard North at 4A Bartlett Sectional Semifinal, 4:30 p.m. today

IHSA Class 3A Burlington Central Softball Regional: Burlington Central 6, Kaneland 5

The skinny: Kaneland tied the game with three runs in the top of the seventh but Central regrouped to push a run across in the bottom half as the Rockets won a thriller. Kaneland catcher Paige Kuefler had three hits for the Knights and tied the game in the seventh with a double but Central (23-9) took advantage of shaky defense by the Knights (20-13) at the start and the beginning of the game.

The quote: “We showed a lot of character by coming back but we never should have put ourselves in a hole in the first place,” Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. “Good for [Central], they played hard, they played well, but we kind of gave them some opportunities.”

Next: vs. Sterling at 3A Marengo Sectional Semifinal, 4:30 p.m. today

IHSA Class 3A St. Francis Softball Regional: St. Francis 11, Evergreen Park 10

The skinny: Evergreen Park scored six runs in the top of the sixth to take a 10-8 lead but the Spartans (24-5) answered with three in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead for good. St. Francis senior pitcher Maggie Remus started the game, was replaced, and then re-entered, working a 1-2-3 seventh inning to polish off the Spartans' victory.

The quote: “We been scoring all throughout the game and we have been hitting all through the lineup,” St. Francis coach Ralph Remus said. “I don’t like to be down in the sixth inning but I was confident we could put the ball into play."

Next: vs. Montini in 3A Glenbard South Sectional Semifinal, 4:30 p.m. today

IHSA Class 4A St. Charles North Baseball Regional: St. Charles North 2, Glenbard North 1 (9 inn.)

The skinny: St. Charles North left-handed pitcher Cory Wright went all nine innings in a dynamite performance on the mound and his battery-mate, catcher Kyle Khoury, supplied four hits – including a solo home run in the fifth inning – as the North Stars won a regional title for the first time since 2010.

The quote: “That was big time,” Wright said of Khoury’s game-tying round-tripper. “Me and Kyle are best friends, so that was a solid moment. We got a little connection going, pitcher to home, and then he tied it for us, he kept us in the game.”

Next: vs. South Elgin in 4A Schaumburg Sectional Semifinal, 4:30 p.m. Thursday

IHSA Class 4A York Baseball Regional: Batavia 8, Willowbrook 1

The skinny: Batavia right-hander Colby Green took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and Laren Eustace tripled twice and had three hits as the Bulldogs (31-3-1) dominated Willowbrook. It was an emotional day for Green, whose grandfather died earlier in the week.

The quote: “I pitched this game for [my grandfather] – I know he really would have wanted to be here,” said a tearful Green. “Everything was working. The guys got me some runs. After I got the news Wednesday, [Batavia coach Matt Holm] told me he was going to let me go today. I knew the way my grandpa was, he would have wanted me to pitch this game.”

Next: vs. West Chicago in 4A Schaumburg Sectional Semifinal, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

IHSA Class 3A Plano Baseball Regional: Kaneland 4, St. Francis 1 (9 inn.)

The skinny: Kaneland finally separated itself in the pitcher's duel in the top of the ninth inning as the Knights took the lead on an RBI double from Joey Panico, then got an unlikely, two-run homer from relief pitcher Nick Stahl – his first hit of the season in only two at-bats. Kaneland tied the game off Spartans starter Jason Sullivan with an unearned run in the top of the sixth.

The quote: “I didn’t even think I was going to get an at-bat,” Stahl said. “He was sticking straight fastball because he was down in the count, so I figured I might as well jump on one.”

Next: vs. Sycamore in 3A Rochelle Sectional, 4 p.m. Wednesday

IHSA Class 3A Hampshire Baseball Regional: Sycamore 6, Burlington Central 5 (10 inn.)

The skinny: Burlington Central's Jacob Schutta tied the game with a disputed three-run home run down the left-field line in the top of the seventh but Sycamore produced its own memorable long ball when Nate Haacker won it with a solo shot in the bottom of the 10th.

The quote: "We challenged [Haacker] there late in the game. We wanted to make him beat us," Rockets coach Kyle Nelson said. "We didn't want to give him a free pass. We put too many guys on today, that's how they ended up with their runs anyway."

IHSA Class 4A Downers Grove South Baseball Regional: Downers Grove South 10, Marmion 0 (5 inn.)

The skinny: Jacob Esp started for the Cadets and uncharacteristically labored through three innings of work during which the Mustangs scored four runs. A pair of errors helped the Mustangs score five times in the fourth, and they closed it out with a single run in the bottom of the fifth.

The quote: "We just got outplayed today," Marmion coach Dave Rakow said. "Give credit where credit is due. Downers Grove South came out and they out-hit us, out-pitched us and out-fielded us."

Also on Saturday: Rosary softball was eliminated by host Lemont, 11-1, in a 3A regional final. … The Aurora Christian baseball team dropped its 2A Morrison Sectional championship game against Byron, 5-2. … In tennis, St. Charles East senior Jasper Koenen went 1-1 on the final day of the IHSA state tennis tournament, falling in the consolation semifinals against Lake Forest's Peter Tarwid, 7-6 (4), 6-1.

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