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Sports

Softball: Previewing the Class 3A state tournament

St. Francis' Carlee Jo Clark delivers a pitch during the IHSA class 3A supersectional against Lemont at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont on June 3. The Spartans won 9-1.
St. Francis' Carlee Jo Clark delivers a pitch during the IHSA class 3A supersectional against Lemont at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont on June 3. The Spartans won 9-1.

Here’s a quick look at the teams competing in the Class 3A state softball tournament this weekend:

St. Francis Spartans Record: 25-3   Coach: Ralph Remus (21st year, 465-201) Path to the state tournament: Intrinsic Charter 24-2, Noble/Muchin, 14-0, Trinty 3-0, Glenbard South 3-0,   State history: First appearance   Keep an eye on: Carlee Clark has pitched all but 19 innings for the Spartans this year, going 16-1 with a 1.75 ERA. She can also hit very well, hitting .506 with 10 home runs on the year. Also: Caroline Caesar leads the Spartans with a .547 batting average and has blasted 11 homers. Annika Norman (.525) and Kristina Sherwin (,529) are also hitting over .500 this year. No Spartan has 100 at-bats, as the team struggled to get games in this year.   One of the Spartans’ three losses was in the season finale, 5-0 to Fenwick. They’ve won five straight.

Sycamore Spartans

Record: 31-6-1   Coach: Jill Carpenter (14th year, 251-232-4) Path to the state tournament: Rochelle 8-0, Rock Falls 11-0, Crystal Lake South 5-4, Sterling 2-1, Marengo 4-1   State history: First trip   Keep an eye on: Faith Reynolds brings a 16-4 record and a 1.60 ERA into the tournament. She’s walked 27 and struck out 142 in 140 innings.   Also: While Reynolds has been starting throughout the postseason Milani Sablan (12-1, 1:47 ERA) has been pitching in relief in almost every game. She has struck out 133 and walked 28 in 81 innings.   At the plate, the Spartans are the only team in the field without someone who hit at least 10 home runs. Haley Trela hit .449 with a team best four homers. It’s a balanced team, with seven of the nine starters hitting at least .318.   The Spartans have won 11 straight.   Mt. Zion Braves   Record: 30-4-1   Coach: Greg Blakey (28th year, 691-275-1)   Path to the state tournament: Rantoul 13-3, Paris 4-0, Rochester 3-0, Charleston 5-2, Centralia 8-1   State history: Fourth in 2018.   Keep an eye on: Audrey Eades has emerged as the ace of the Braves with a 12-1 record and a 2.08 ERA, striking out 109 and walking 26 in 87 2/3 innings.   Also: Eades is one of three Braves with at least 50 innings this year. Chayse Ramey is 9-0 with a 1.03 ERA in 14 appearances this year, and Ally Bruner is 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA. Of the nine players with at least 65 at bats, eight are hitting at least .300. Kynzie Wrigley is hitting .486 with nine homers, 49 runs scored and 42 RBIs. Dayna Kennedy has blasted 10 home runs, driven in 36 and scored 46 times while hitting .431. Eades gets it done at the plate too, hitting .417 with five home runs.   The Braves lost the regular-season finale and two of three, and are on a five-game winning streak.

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