Chelsea's dagger cued a wild celebration.
Chelsea Delaney's plate patience and willingness to walk -- 4 bases on balls in as many at-bats in Monday's Class 4A Glenbrook South softball supersectional -- led to a 3-2 walk-off win for New Trier over heart-crushed Lake Zurich.
But the real killer Delaney delivered?
It was a rare burst on the base paths -- and not a trot -- by the right-handed slugger. It provided the winning run and earned the Trevians their second state appearance in four years.
Molly Morrison's RBI double off Lake Zurich ace Megan Mattera scored Delaney from second base with one out in the bottom of the eighth, capping a dramatic win for New Trier, which trailed 2-0 heading into its half of the sixth.
New Trier (23-11) will play St. Charles North in a state semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday at EastSide Centre in East Peoria.
Lake Zurich, which enjoyed late-inning heroics of its own in the sectional final, scoring 3 runs in the seventh against Fremd to erase a 3-1 deficit, ended its season at 24-8.
"It's been a great season," said Mattera, who allowed only 2 hits, accounting for all of New Trier's runs. "The girls really stepped up and made the season possible.
"It happens," the Miami (Ohio) recruit added of the loss. "It's a game, and someone's got to lose. ... I wish it wasn't us."
Mattera was careful throughout the game of not giving the dangerous Delaney anything too good to hit. So Mattera stayed away from the Trevians' cleanup hitter, consistently throwing to the outside.
"I wasn't finding the corner enough," Mattera said. "I was trying to put it close, but not too close. I know she's their big hitter, but I was trying to let her hit. She didn't want to hit."
"I want to hit," assured Delaney, who has 10 home runs this season. "I knew from the first two at-bats that she was only going to throw outside to me. The inside pitch I like hitting. I made sure I covered the plate and I made sure that when the ball came, I watched it all the way in."
New Trier decided to pitch to Lake Zurich's slugger, Mattera, and it eventually cost the Trevians. After Mattera lined into a 6-4 double play in the first, the senior singled with Maria Schroeder (walk) on first base and one out in the fourth. The Bears' next hitter, Alli McGinnis, doubled to left-center. Schroeder scored easily for the game's first run, but Mattera's courtesy runner stumbled around third and was thrown out easily at home.
Then with two out in the top of the sixth, Mattera lined a Brigit Ieuter pitch over the fence in left field for her 10th homer and a 2-0 Lake Zurich lead.
In New Trier's half of the sixth, an error and Delaney's third walk put two Trevians on with none out. Mattera got one of her 7 strikeouts for the first out, but a walk to Morrison loaded the bases.
Eileen Hurley then got the Trevians' first hit -- a single up the middle to score Raechel Cloud and Megan Newhouse, who was pinch-running for Delaney.
After Ieuter (6 hits allowed, 6 strikeouts) retired the top of Lake Zurich's order in order in the top of the eighth, Delaney started the bottom of the inning with her fourth walk.
Ryan Lee's bunt moved Delaney to second. Morrison then hit a Mattera pitch into right field. Bears freshman right fielder Kristin Walding made a diving attempt. When the ball got past her, Delaney headed home.
"I was watching the ball to see if it would drop and making sure she didn't catch it," Delaney said. "Once I saw that she wasn't going to catch it, I started sprinting. I didn't even look at the right fielder. I just kept going. Then I looked over when I was really close to home and I saw that they still hadn't thrown the ball in, so I knew I didn't have to slide. It was great. I just kept on running."
Lake Zurich wasted a leadoff double by Christina Sandstedt (2-for-3) in the fifth.
The Bears also committed 4 errors, and the 2 runs Mattera yielded in the sixth were unearned.
"Defensively, we weren't there," Bears coach Michaela Towne said. "We let too many of them get on base with free passes or errors, and that's how they ended up scoring. That'll do you. We had our chances, too, on offense. It's unfortunate the way it turned out."