Class 4A St. Charles East sectional
Sectional pairings: Tuesday, May 28: Glenbard West regional winner vs. Bartlett regional winner, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, May 29: Schaumburg regional winner vs. St. Charles North regional winner, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 1: Championship, 11 a.m. Winner moves on to Rosemont Stadium supersectional on Monday, June 3 vs. Neuqua Valley sectional winner.
Top four seeds: St. Charles East (27-5), Glenbard North (22-4), St. Charles North (21-5), Lake Park (24-11)
St. Charles North regional
Pairings: Monday: Larkin (3-25) at West Chicago, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday: St. Charles North vs. Monday winner, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday: Elgin (14-14) vs. South Elgin (17-13), 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 25: Championship, 11 a.m.
Outlook: If seeds hold, the title game here would be South Elgin vs. St. Charles North and the Storm would enter that with confidence after beating the North Stars and junior Northwestern recruit Sabrina Rabin 4-1 back on April 5. But that was 6 weeks ago and since then the Stars have risen to the occasion when needed and claimed the Upstate Eight River title with a sweep of sectional top seed St. Charles East. South Elgin, led offensively by junior catcher Alyssa Buddle and senior shortstop Kara Rodriguez and in the circle by junior Paige Allen, beat Elgin 11-10 earlier this week but Allen didn't pitch nor did Elgin junior standout Jennah Perryman (8-10, 1.72 ERA, .341 BA, 9 HRs, 34 RBI). The Maroons have also gotten a stellar season from junior leadoff hitter Anna Eckholm (. 417, 5 HRs, 22 RBI). "I think our matchup with South Elgin is a good one," said Elgin coach Chad Dahlman. "I believe we are evenly matched. Our pitching has been solid this year, but our bats have let us down. If our bats come awake, we can be very competitive." Larkin will play the play-in game Monday at West Chicago. Alex Buhrow (. 452, 4 HRs, 20 RBI), Jaclyn Saurbaugh (. 375) and Alexis Price (. 347, 22 RBI) lead the Royals.
Glenbard West regional
Pairings: Monday: Hoffman Estates at Streamwood (5-21), 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday: St. Charles East vs. Monday winner, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday: Conant vs. Glenbard West, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 25: Championship, 11 a.m.
Outlook: Streamwood gets to host the play-in game Monday and then, if the Sabres win, they'd get a shot at top seed St. Charles East in the semifinals. After losing to the Saints 13-3 in their first meeting, Streamwood only lost to SCE 2-0 May 13. The Sabres are led by Brittany Delao (. 344, 15 RBI), Holly Foret (. 352, 10 RBI) and Kylie Jambor (. 314, 10 RBI).
Pairings: Monday: Lake Park vs. Geneva, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday: Bartlett (25-9) vs. Addison Trail, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 25: Championship, 11 a.m.
Outlook: Bartlett embarks on the 2013 postseason in a tough regional. The Hawks, who made a magical run to the Class 4A state championship game last season, have plenty of experience to draw on from that trip to East Peoria. "We have a lot of girls who tasted some success last year and they know what it takes to play at that level," said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. "They know in our sectional we're going to see really good teams and it helps to have that experience. We're playing good softball right now." Junior SS Kayla Haberstich (. 475, 9 HRs, 57 RBI), senior OF Rachel Odolski (. 465, 18 SBs), junior OF Alex Morales (. 389, 2 HRs, 25 RBI) and junior P/1B Holly Pagan (. 400. 22 RBI) led the Hawks offensively. Pagan is 13-5 with a 2.36 ERA and senior Jessica Kirby is 7-3 with a 2.43. "Holly and Jess have done a really good job the last half of the season," Wolfsmith said. If seeds hold, the Hawks would face UEC Valley rival Lake Park in the title game. The Lancers beat Bartlett 6-3 in eight innings on April 25 and the Hawks came back to beat Lake Park 5-2 on Friday.
Pairings: Monday: Dundee-Crown (4-20) at Wheaton North, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday: Glenbard North vs. Monday winner, 4:30 p.m., Wednesday: Schaumburg vs. Elk Grove, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 25: Championship, 11 a.m. Dundee-Crown travels to Wheaton North for the play-in game Monday with the winner meeting always-tough Glenbard North on Tuesday. Senior P/SS Amanda Eissler has been a bright spot for the Chargers in an otherwise challenging season.
Class 4A Prairie Ridge sectional
Sectional pairings: Tuesday, May 28: Winner Grant regional vs. Winner Warren regional, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, May 29: Rockford Guilford regional winner vs. Jacobs regional winner, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 1: Championship, 11 a.m. Winner advances to Barrington supersectional Monday, June 3 vs. Rolling Meadows sectional winner.
Top regional seeds: Hononegah, Cary-Grove (19-5), Zion-Benton, Prairie Ridge
Pairings: Monday: Jacobs (16-14) at CL South (14-9), 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday: Cary-Grove vs. Monday winner, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday: DeKalb (19-8) vs. Huntley (22-11), 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 25: Championship, 10 a.m.
Outlook: The amazing comeback of Cary-Grove senior pitcher Lindsay Efflandt is the storyline here. Dropped by an April 22 line drive to the face, a blow that fractured three separate bones but didn't require surgery, Efflandt came back to the circle on Thursday less than an hour from getting her doctor's release to play, and faced only 9 Lakes batters in saving a Trojans win. She's now 10-1 with 1 save and an ERA under 1. Oh, and she's also hitting .303. "It's not even about the wins and losses, it's about Lindsay being able to come back and play the game she loves," said C-G coach Tammy Olson of the Yale recruit." Cary-Grove lost to Jacobs in the regional final last year but Olson says revenge isn't a motivating factor this year. "We don't have revenge on our minds at this point," she said. "They're absolutely determined to win this regional -- that's always our goal. With Lindsay back they're even more excited about it. We have a great regional and I have a lot of respect for every team there. It's tough year in and year out." Senior catcher Sarah Leudo (. 353, 3 HRs, 17 RBI) leads the Trojans offensively.
Crystal Lake South owns a win over Cary-Grove, sans Efflandt this season, and the Gators have shown if they play a solid game they can beat anyone. Junior SS Sam McLean (. 435, 2 HRs, 19 RBI) and Kimmy Woods (. 382, 11 RBI) lead the Gators while sophomore Hailee Massie is 7-5 with a 1.64 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 68 innings in the circle. "I think all five coaches feel they have a chance to win our regional this year," said CLS coach Scott Busam. "And all five might have a legitimate point. DeKalb is kind of an unknown component but we all know they have pitching and hitting. If we play defense like we have recently and we get solid pitching, I feel like we can compete with anyone. The best teams don't always win, sometimes the hottest teams do. Hopefully we're heating up."
The Huntley-DeKalb matchup should also be a good one. The Red Raiders are led by senior SS Randi Peterson and sophomore pitcher Haley Spannraft. DeKalb, which finished second to Kaneland in the Northern Illinois Big 12, is led by standout pitcher Katie Kowalski.
Outlook: Rockford-area teams haven't had a chance to play many games this season -- some only 15. Hononegah, the top seed at Guilford, is 14-1 having lost for the first time on May 13 to Boylan (11-4). Zion-Benton and Warren are the top seeds at Warren.
Class 3A Sycamore regional
Pairings: Monday: Hampshire (11-18) vs. Sycamore, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday: Burlington Central (26-3) vs. Monday winner, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday: Genoa-Kingston (17-6) vs. Marengo (24-7), 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 25: Championship, 11 a.m.
Outlook: Seeds will have to hold but if they do, a third Burlington Central vs. Marengo game would be a fans' treat. The Rockets beat Marengo 3-1 and 3-0 in early April but the defending Class 3A runner-up Indians have come back to notch many quality wins, including handing Barrington its only loss of the season. Central, which beat Lockport 1-0 Saturday at the Stone City Jamboree, is led by junior catcher Bekah Harnish (. 545, 3 HRs, 28 RBI), junior P Brooke Gaylord (. 500, 6 HRs, 28 RBI, 12-2, 1.38 ERA) and freshman SS Kayla Ross (. 375). Freshman pitcher Emily Kisch is 10-1 in the circle with a 2.08 ERA. "It's a tough regional but we all know each other so it should be fun," said Rockets coach Wade Maisto. "I like the way we're playing right now."
Hampshire has shown it can play with any team and will open the regional Monday in the play-in game against Sycamore. The Whip-Purs are led by senior P Jennifer Hurst and senior OF Jordan Hook.
Advancement: The Sycamore regional winner advances to the Rochelle sectional to play the Rosary regional winner on Wednesday, May 29 at 4:30 p.m.
Class 3A St. Viator regional
Pairings: Monday: North Chicago at Vernon Hills, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday: St. Viator vs. Monday winner, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday: St. Edward (13-13) vs. Regina Dominican, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 25: Championship, 10 a.m.
Outlook: St. Edward bumped up to Class 3A this year but Green Wave coach Jaci Corn feels her second-seeded team is in a winnable regional. The Green Wave opens against Regina, a team St. Edward lost to 10-9 in the Rosemont Dome then came back to beat 6-3 outdoors. "We've been working on the things we need to work on and if they come focused and play their best game we should do a lot of good things," Corn said. The Wave is led offensively by senior SS Kali Kossakowski (. 493, 3 HRs, 14 RBI, 20 SBs) and sophomore C Ryann Scully (. 358). Freshman pitcher Lindsay Zdroik, who missed 4 games between April 29 and May 8, is 8-7 in the circle with 74 strikeouts in 86 innings.
Advancement: The St. Viator regional winner advances to the Grayslake Central sectional to play the Chicago Amundsen regional winner Tuesday, May 28 at 4:30 p.m.