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updated: 5/29/2012 11:49 PM

Scouting area softball sectionals

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  • Glenbard North celebrates a two run homer in the first by Kelsey Muller against Lake Park High School during varsity softball in Roselle, Wednesday.

      Glenbard North celebrates a two run homer in the first by Kelsey Muller against Lake Park High School during varsity softball in Roselle, Wednesday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer


Class 4A East Aurora sectional

The matchups: Neuqua Valley (22-15) vs. Plainfield Central (25-8), 4:30 p.m. Wednesday; Naperville North (23-12) vs. Plainfield East (22-11), 7 p.m. Wednesday; Sectional final, 11 a.m. Saturday.

Outlook: Upsets are the theme up to this point, as three of the four top seeds were knocked off in Saturday's regional finals. None of the four teams left have won a sectional title. Neuqua, seeking its first sectional final appearance, stunned No. 1 seed Benet 1-0 Saturday behind Jamie O'Brien's three-hit gem. Speedy sophomore O'Brien is also the Wildcats' top hitter, with a .427 average and 11 triples with 30 RBI. Kelsey Dominguez is hitting .385 with 26 RBI and Brooke Meyer .350 with 26 RBI for Neuqua, which is 6-1 over its last seven games since a six-game losing streak. Plainfield Central lefty Morgan Vogt is 10-1 and shut out Waubonsie in the regional final. Naperville North, which set a program win record this year, is back in sectionals for the second straight year after a 15-year hiatus. Lefty leadoff Steph Tobin is hitting near .500 and sophomore catcher Kailee Budicin leads the Huskies in RBI.

Class 4A Lake Park sectional

The matchups: Glenbard North (33-2) vs. York (18-18), 4:30 p.m. Wednesday; Bartlett (28-8) vs. West Chicago (24-12), 4:30 p.m. Thursday; Sectional final, 11 a.m. Saturday.

Outlook: How far can Lilly Fecho carry Glenbard North? The Panthers' Purdue-bound senior lefty, 26-2 with an ERA under 1.00 and also hitting over .400 with 8 homers, is the dominant force in this foursome. Glenbard North, chasing its first sectional title since 2005, knows well all three opponents. The Panthers went 5-0 against the other sectional semifinalists, but three of those games were decided by 1 run. No. 13 seed York and senior ace Tessa Kroll, who is 10-8 with a 1.73 ERA and hitting .356, upset Lake Park and Hinsdale South in regionals. Glenbard North beat York 4-3 in eight innings in a Fecho-Kroll matchup in March. No. 11 seed West Chicago knocked off Downers Grove South and Downers Grove North in regionals, winning both in its last at-bat. Amanda Gosbeth is hitting a team-high .372 with 28 runs scored and 24 RBI and Rachel Johnson has driven in 29 for West Chicago. Bartlett, is led by crafty senior pitcher Tori Burke, who is 17-6 and struck out 13 in the Hawks' regional final win.

Class 3A Glenbard South sectional

The matchups: Glenbard South (32-4) vs. Nazareth (19-16), at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday; St. Francis (27-3) vs. Riverside-Brookfield (26-7), 4:30 p.m. Thursday; Sectional final, at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Outlook: History and home field would seem to tilt this sectional the top seed Raiders' way. Glenbard South, 17-1 since April 25, has won sectional titles four of the last five years. The Raiders, led by seniors Danielle Chitkowski, Brianna Meath and Hannah Davey and junior Jane Trzaska, swept No. 3 seed Riverside-Brookfield in conference the last two years, beat No. 2 St. Francis in last year's sectional final and defeated Nazareth in last season's supersectional. St. Francis is led by the outstanding left side of the infield in Loyola-bound third baseman Brie Pasquale, hitting .570 with 19 doubles and 36 RBI, and shortstop Alyssa Fernandez, hitting .545 with 8 homers and 42 RBI. R-B third baseman Kiley Rusen is the school's all-time hit leader with 213 and hitting .545 this year. Center fielder Becky Mantel is hitting .464 with 11 homers and 61 RBI. Nazareth is led by the duo of .402-hitting Holly Haberkorn and Cat Usher, hitting .386 with 30 RBI.

Class 3A Fenton sectional

The matchups: Fenton vs. Ridgewood, 7 p.m. Wednesday; Elmwood Park vs. Guerin, 7 p.m. Thursday; Sectional final, 7 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: The Bison (18-19), regional champs for the third straight year, now seek the school's first sectional win. Fenton swept Ridgewood in Metro Suburban Conference play by big margins, but Ridgewood has since brought back several players who had gone out for soccer. Kelly Welch hit .508 for Fenton during the regular season with 34 RBI and Hannah Wassmann stole 38 bases, tops in the area. Elmwood Park (17-16) isn't the top seed but is the big favorite here. The Tigers, winners of seven straight regionals, were 5-0 against the other three teams during the season.

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