Maine West skates past Glenbrook North
Katie Fitzgerald showed why she was named Athlete of the year at Maine West.
The senior banged out 3 hits and drove in 4 runs and then headed off with the other seniors for prom after the Warriors blasted Glenbrook North 10-4 Friday at the Niles West sectional in Skokie.
Maine West (25-10) will meet New Trier in the sectional final Saturday at 11 a.m.
Fitzgerald, who is headed to St. Cloud University in Minnesota to play hockey, paced a 17-hit attack for the Warriors.
"I need to get my offense here," said Fitzgerald, who plays goalie. "We practiced all week on our hitting and it paid off today."
Maine West had six players with 2 or more hits.
The Warriors also took advantage of 6 errors by Glenbrook North.
"I told the kids we needed to hit to beat them," said Maine West coach Amy Gonzales, whose team had just had 9 hits in the two previous meetings with Glenbrook North. "We didn't have that in our first couple meetings. So we had three days of nothing but hitting, hitting, hitting."
Maine West connected early.
The Warriors got back to back doubles from Holly Wengerski and Angela Cruz with one out in the first. Fitzgerald then scored both of them on a liner to left.
"Everyone hitting jumps pump each other up," said Wengerski, who had 3 hits and a RBI. "We were all focused to rip the ball today."
Maine West tallied again in the third as Fitzgerald delivered a two-out single to left scoring Cruz, who had singled earlier.
"We have great team chemistry," said Crus, who had 3 hits and reached base 4 times. "We have lots of faith in each other."
That faith got tested a bit in Glenbrook North's fifth inning.
The Spartans (26-7) had closed to 3-1 on a homer by Colleen Ahern.
They then rallied to tie the game at 3-3, scoring both of their runs thanks to 3 errors by Maine West.
But the Warriors turned the tables on the team against which they'd split two previous meetings.
With one out in the sixth, Renee Pond, who had 2 hits on the day, singled.
Ariel Valles then hit a come-backer on what appeared to be an easy inning-ending double play. But an error on the play left both runners safe.
That opened the floodgates for Maine West as the Warriors would go on to score 6 runs.
Gina Larucci doubled home a run, Wengerski singled home a run, Cruz reached on an error, scoring another run. Herling singled in a run and Fitzgerald doubled home another for the streaking Warriors.
"We really focused on putting the bat on the ball today," said Fitzgerald, who also played volleyball for Maine West. "We put the ball in play and put pressure on them by doing that."
The Warriors continued their onslaught in the seventh, turning 3 more hits into a final run.
Herling, who had 3 hits on the day, drove in Larucci, who had singled for her second hit of the day.
"We are a good hitting team," Gonzales said. "When they connect they do well."
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