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updated: 6/8/2012 7:17 PM

Trzaska's homer brings some family closure

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  • Jane Trzaska (11) is about to be mobbed after hitting a 2-run homer in the fourth inning to give Glenbard South a 6-1 lead over Mattoon during the Class 3A state softball semifinals Friday in East Peoria.

      Jane Trzaska (11) is about to be mobbed after hitting a 2-run homer in the fourth inning to give Glenbard South a 6-1 lead over Mattoon during the Class 3A state softball semifinals Friday in East Peoria.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer


EAST PEORIA -- Jane Trzaska's second-ever homer at the state softball tournament came with two strikes, two outs, good for 2 runs.

Part of a win that, no doubt, felt doubly sweet to the Glenbard South junior.

As much as the Raiders' 11-1 win over Mattoon in Friday's Class 3A state semifinals was about this particular group breaking through in this particular game, a small part of Jane may have been doing this for her older sister.

Jill Trzaska, the 2008 Daily Herald All-Area Captain for DuPage County, starred for the first Raiders team to make it to the 3A semifinals, only to fall short.

And yes, to Mattoon. Jane remembered the name well.

"It was kind of special for me. I knew what they went through with that first game," Jane Trzaska said. "I thought 'You know what, let's get some revenge for them. Let's show them how different we are.' "

Even better is that older sister was able to be a part of it.

Jill Trzaska, who graduated from Cornell College last weekend, made Glenbard South's sectional semifinal game and supersectional, and was among the faithful in East Peoria on Saturday. The first mention of Mattoon this week sparked flashbacks to Jill.

In that game Jill hit a grand slam in the first inning and struck out 15, but Glenbard South gave up 4 runs in the seventh and lost 6-5.

"I was hoping and praying that it would go the other way this time," Jill said. "I knew how heartbreaking it was. I felt like this matchup was meant to happen, that this time it was meant go go our way."

Jane hit a huge 3-run home run in last year's third-place game.

Of course, a homer in a win like this one must feel even more special.

"Sister is in the stands watching, you know it's definitely a personal thing for Jane as well," Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda said.

Jane wasn't yet part of the Glenbard South team in 2008, but she was in East Peoria following her older sister. She got a close view of the hurt of being oh so close to victory, snatched away. She experienced it last year. Friday she basked in the other end of a wide spectrum of emotions.

"When people close to you lose, you take it to heart, you see the expressions on their face -- especially when it's your sister," Trzaska said. "You realize the work that they put into it. You think to yourself 'Oh, I don't ever want to have that feeling.' So this feeling, this is really nice."

Also comforting is seeing that familiar face in the stands.

"I just look out in the stands and every time I see her she smiles," Jane Trzaska said. "It's nice to know that she's out there supporting me. Even though they lost down here, she wants the best for us."

And now, the best opportunity is in front of Trzaska and the Raiders.

Today they get a shot at winning their school's first state softball championship, against a Marengo team Glenbard South beat 10-3 in April.

Win or lose, it will be a special moment for both sisters.

"I am so proud of this group of girls," Jill Trzaska said. "They have worked hard for it all year. I couldn't experience it, so I am glad that my sister can experience the rush of playing in a championship game."

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