Aurora Central Catholic's 7-14 regular season is quickly becoming a distant memory, moving further and further into the rearview mirror with each new milestone its girls softball team accomplishes.
With a 10-3 win over Gordon Tech Saturday in the Class 2A Lisle sectional championship game at Benedictine University, Aurora Central claimed its first sectional title in school history.
"It's crazy. I can't believe it," the Chargers' senior first baseman Allie Lundquist said. "We're so excited. We just started playing good at the right time. It all started coming together right at the end and that's when you need it to come together."
The Chargers are doing it in improbable fashion. Their win Saturday was their fifth in the postseason after winning just seven in the regular season.
Aurora Central (12-14) will play Peru St. Bede in the Class 2A Northern Illinois Supersectional at 1 p.m. Monday.
"It's all about the defense," ACC coach Jim Hallahan said. "It truly is because we're so used to making errors that let other teams beat us out and for the last two weeks we have made one error in the last five games."
Gordon Tech (19-4) got off to a good start Saturday, scoring two runs in the first inning against Chargers freshman Paige Miller (9-7).
Trailing 2-0, the Chargers tied the game in the second. Lindquist led off with the first of her three hits, a sharp single. Jenny Alderman reached on a bunt, and both runners came in to score when Allie Kane lined a single to left that the Rams' left fielder misplayed.
That turned out to be the first of four errors for Gordon Tech who also walked seven batters and had two runners thrown out trying to take an extra base. Even though the Rams outhit the Chargers 9-7, all those miscues were too much to overcome.
"They capitalized on our errors, on our walks and our pitcher had a tough day," Gordon Tech coach Carrie Amedio said.
Tied 2-2, Aurora Central took control with three runs in the third and four in the fourth. That was the stretch when Rams starter Melanie Claudio, who tossed three no-hitters this year, lost command.
Claudio walked three batters in each inning. Kane doubled and Lindquist ripped a 2-run triple to spark the third-inning rally, then Lindquist's single was the Chargers' only hit in the fourth as ACC scored seven runs in the two innings on just three hits.
Jami Dahl scored the Chargers' final run in the fifth. She led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a groundout and scored on an illegal pitch.
"It was one of those things that we've been powering through all week and we knew we could come back," Lundquist said. "We all started hitting at the right time. Everybody picked it up at the right time and we've been rolling ever since."