Granger, WW South upset Waubonsie Valley
Sammy Granger missed all of volleyball season with a back injury that also slowed her this spring.
While pitching Tuesday, she had the unusual circumstance of a bee sting on the mound.
Overcoming both, she put a hurting to Waubonsie Valley.
Granger, Wheaton Warrenville South's senior captain, hit a tone-setting 3-run homer in the first inning, then took a shutout into the seventh as the No. 13 seed Tigers stung No. 4 Waubonsie 4-2 in a Class 4A Yorkville regional semifinal.
"We came into this game knowing that everybody expected us to lose. No pressure," Granger said. "We just came out and played our game."
WW South coach Jeff Pawlak noted that Granger is the "unquestioned leader" of his team, the kid the other girls follow.
She led the way Tuesday, belting a two-strike high changeup from Shannon Hohman for a 3-run homer in the first. It followed Cam Briggs' pop-fly infield single and a Kim Hayes walk.
"I'm so proud of her," Pawlak said of Granger. "She's had a tough year with her back. For her to come out in potentially her last game and play the way she did, it was huge."
Granger rounding back into shape from the stress fracture, in large part, coincided with WW South's late-season resurgence.
The Tigers (16-15) were 5-11 at one point but beat Glenbard North and nearly upset Naperville Central second time through the DVC.
"From where we are now to when we started, it really shows how a team can grow," Granger said.
Waubonsie, perhaps knocked on its heels by Granger's blast, struggled to get any offense going.
The Warriors (23-6), who had won nine straight games coming in, were hitless until Amanda Minahan's one-out double in the fourth. Granger retired eight of the next nine batters she faced with 6 strikeouts and 5 comebackers until Waubonsie managed to scratch across 2 runs in the seventh.
Layne Thresh singled in Hohman, who reached on an error, and Mel Koulos singled in Thresh.
Too little, too late.
"We just lacked the intensity," Waubonsie coach Aly Kelley said. "It was hard to watch from the dugout because there was nothing I could do about it."
It was, yes, WW South's day. Briggs reached on three perfectly placed infield singles that probably traveled a combined 75 feet. The Tigers' fourth run scored on Jenny Harbakus' well-executed squeeze in the fifth.
"This group, they think they can, but they don't know they can," Pawlak said. "For them to get that early lead, you could see the weight of the world off their shoulders."
Waubonsie's emotions went from the highest highs to the lowest low in 24 hours.
On Monday the Warriors beat South Elgin to clinch the outright Upstate Eight Valley title. Early playoff disappointment followed, much like last year's regional final defeat to Plainfield Central.
"I don't want to take anything away from what these girls earned, but the postseason is where it's at," said Kelley, who is stepping down after three years to take a teaching job in South Korea. "We really talked about this team wanting to go farther. To get shut down like this in the first game, it's hard to swallow."
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