Glenbard South's latest trip to state is worth the wait
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When Hannah Taylor is involved, good things always seem to happen for Glenbard South.
She didn't mind waiting 11 innings for it to find her Monday.
"I was like, 'Let's go another one,'" the Raiders senior said. "It's do or die. This is it."
Taylor came home with the winning run on a Fenwick throwing error with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, and Glenbard South is going back to state after surviving a 2-1 marathon at Monday's Class 3A Nazareth supersectional in LaGrange Park.
Glenbard South (29-5), which also came from behind to beat Lemont in eight innings on Taylor's game-winner in a Saturday sectional final, finally broke through after leaving the winning run in scoring position in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
"Eventually something is going to give," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said. "It's just a matter of time in those instances, that something is going to break. I'm proud of my kids for persevering."
Now Fonda, whose team won the program's first state title last year, is headed back to state for the fifth time in the last six years. The Raiders will play the winner of today's Normal supersectional between Peoria Notre Dame and Tinley Park in a 10 a.m. state semifinal Friday in East Peoria.
"It doesn't get old, I tell you that, this winning thing," Fonda said.
For much of Monday's game, though, it appeared karma was not with Fonda's Raiders.
Fenwick (21-16) scored an unearned run in the first inning on a two-out dropped ball in the outfield.
Glenbard South had a runner thrown out at the plate and another picked off third base in the first. Jane Trzaska rocketed two deep balls hauled down on the warning track that would have been out in just about any other park, Taylor one long fly.
Still down 1-0 in the sixth, Payton Carli singled to start things, was sacrificed to second and after a long Trzaska out Ashton Cattenhead rifled a hard-hit ball up the middle, beating it out for an infield single while Carli scored.
Glenbard South had runners thrown out at third base in the seventh and eighth, but Taylor's alert baserunning was a catalyst to the winning rally. Taylor, she of game-winning hits in last year's Class 3A final and again Saturday, drew a leadoff walk and on Tarah Valdez's sacrifice took third when nobody covered.
"It's something we practice all the time," Taylor said nonchalantly. "Fonda always says, 'If nobody's covering, I'm bringing you.'"
One out later, Fonda sent sophomore Taylor Carli up to pinch hit. With two strikes Carli smashed a grounder that the Fenwick second baseman made a diving stop on, but from her knees fired low past first base as Taylor came in.
It ended Fenwick's bid for its first state appearance since 1998, when Dave Power of basketball fame led the Friars to fourth in Class AA.
"This was like a prize fight, each puncher punching each other," said Fenwick coach Mike Marrese, whose sophomore pitcher Val Perrelli had won nine straight starts coming in. "It wound up Glenbard South got one more punch in."
While Glenbard South seemed to have a constant rally going, Stephanie Chitkowski kept Fenwick from mustering much of anything.
Relieving Trzaska to start the third, Chitkowski (17-2) allowed just 1 hit in nine innings with 7 strikeouts. She retired the last 13 batters she faced.
And she was more than ready for the game to end.
"My arm is falling off," she said with a smile. "I had the adrenaline going."
Chitkowski is one of the few holdovers off last year's state champs that graduated eight starters, including her older sister, Danielle.
This team has even surpassed her expectations.
"Last year's team, we kind of expected to be here," she said. "This year we've all surprised each other so much. I can't wait to see what we do down at state."
Follow Josh on Twitter @jwelge96
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