You always want the bats warming up late in the season.
Prospect's were as hot as the weather in Monday's play-in game of the Buffalo Grove Class 4A softball regional at Wheeling.
The No. 18-seeded Knights scored as many runs in one inning as they did in any game all season en route to a 16-5 victory over the No. 16 Wildcats.
After giving up 5 runs and falling behind 5-2 after 5 innings, Prospect (9-19) erupted for 10 runs on 10 hits in the top of the sixth and never looked back to advance to today's 4:30 p.m. semifinal against top-seeded Barrington (30-1) at Buffalo Grove High School.
"We don't want our season to end," said Prospect coach Jim Adair. "We looked forward to playing Barrington."
"We've got to be at the top of our game," said Knights senior catcher Cassie Poulos, who went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI and a walk. "We have to play the way we know how."
The Knights' 21 hits on Monday were a season-high, led by freshman Rachel Trebswether (3-for-5, double, 2 RBI), sophomore Maggie Pancini (2-for-4, 2 RBI), senior Michele Molini (2-for-5, RBI), sophomore Ally Schuldt (3-for-5, RBI), junior Meghan Doyle (1-for-4, RBI), freshman Angela Roman (2-for-5, double, 3 RBI), junior Emma Riordan (3-for-3, double, RBI) and sophomore Casey Lenski (1-for-5, RBI).
"We've been telling them all season they can hit like that," Adair said. "And there were a lot of key hits, too. The girls never gave up after they fell behind."
Riordan began the 10-run fifth with a double down the left field line. Trebswether and Roman each had 2-run doubles in the inning.
Trebswether and Pancini each had 2 hits in the fifth inning and pinch-hitter Jill Sadowski also had a RBI single in the outburst which saw 15 batters come to the plate.
"We finally came up with the hits when we needed them," Poulos said. "It was great to have that big inning after we had just made a few mistakes and they had just scored 5 runs on us."
"I thought we had a slow start and let them have some runs we shouldn't have given up," said Knights senior third baseman Michele Molini. "But we got going in the next inning and we kept feeding off each other."
Junior Michelle Korf (5-8) notched the win by throwing all 7 innings.
"Michelle pitched great," Adair said. "She had a little rough spot but she was pretty dominant after that."
Korf retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh inning to wrap up her fifth win in 13 decisions.
Wheeling (10-17) had 7 of its 10 hits in their 5-run fifth inning, which also included 2 errors.
Senior shortstop Emily Walker had a 2-run double in the inning which saw 14 Wildcats come to bat.
Sophomore Lauren Hart was the only multiple hitter for the hosts, going 2-for-2 with a walk.
Sara Kern, Jackie Resnick, pitcher Katie Quagliano, Nikki Mikosz, Megan Olsen, Kaitlyn DeBusk and Taylor Vasey each had 1 hit for the Wildcats.
"They went on a 14-0 run after we got the 5-2 lead," said Wheeling coach Mike Caringella. "They just hit the heck out of the ball.
"I'm proud of our girls. I'm sorry our seniors (Kern, Walker, DeBusk, Resnick, Vasey and Angela Bravo) had to go out this way but they've worked very hard and made many contributions to the program. From where we were four years ago to today is a big difference, and it's because of our six seniors."