The St. Charles North softball team is a like a master bank robber: they have a certain MO.
West Chicago found out the hard way Tuesday afternoon as the North Stars, who never beat themselves, will run you out of the park if given the opportunity, and execute in all phases of the game, advanced with a 9-0 victory at their Class 4A regional semifinal in St. Charles.
Without a senior on their roster, the North Stars had few issues in their first postseason assignment: starting pitcher Sabrina Rabin struck out eight of the first 10 batters she faced.
The North Stars, the third seed of the St. Charles East sectional complex, used timely hitting and flawless defense the rest of the way in ending the No. 14 Wildcats' season.
Rabin retired 21 of the 24 batters she faced in earning her 18th victory in 21 decisions this spring as West Chicago found the North Stars' ace unsolvable.
Morgan Dystach had the only 2 hits for the Wildcats, who had their season come to an end at 9-18.
Rabin threw strike one to virtually every hitter she encountered.
"I really tried to get ahead," Rabin said. "There are a lot more options when you get ahead. I felt a little faster today."
Rabin also helped her own cause on more than one occasion at the plate.
The North Stars' leadoff batter, she singled and scored the only run St. Charles North would need in the opening inning as Mickey Goetz plated her with a one-out single to center.
The long odds West Chicago faced only intensified in the North Stars' third as Erin Nemitz essentially put the game on ice.
Abby Howlett had already doubled the North Stars' lead to 2-0 with a two-out single, and Nemitz scored both Howlett and Alexandra Millett with a ringing double to right-center.
"Any time you get two-out RBIs, you're putting yourself in a good position to succeed," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said.
"I was trying to get a base hit," said Nemitz, who concluded the North Stars' scoring with another two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth inning. "I know my job at the bottom of the order is to get runners in when I have to. I was ready to come out and get my groove back."
Rabin made sure there would be no counterattacks by West Chicago: the junior retired the side in order four times and issued but one free pass against a season-high 12 strikeouts.
Rabin later ensured the North Stars (24-5) meeting either South Elgin or Elgin in the championship game on Saturday morning with another two-out single up the middle to plate two more runners in the North Stars' fifth inning.
"I knew I had runners in scoring position," Rabin said of her shot up the middle off the Wildcats' pitcher's outstretched glove.
"(Rabin) has a really good command of where (every pitch) was going," West Chicago coach Kim Wallner said. "I wish we could have kept it a little closer. I thought we battled all year. We're young. We have 21 sophomores in the program."