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updated: 5/19/2014 10:00 PM

Montini completes perfect SCC run

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  • Montini's Christina Barrett steals third base in the second inning as Wheaton Academy's Gina Graff tries to make the tag during softball action in Lombard on Monday.

      Montini's Christina Barrett steals third base in the second inning as Wheaton Academy's Gina Graff tries to make the tag during softball action in Lombard on Monday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent

A potent attack provides confidence even when trailing, and Montini has battled back all year.

In Monday's Suburban Christian Conference crossover, the Broncos used some back-to-back battling to pull out an exciting 9-7 win over visiting Wheaton Academy to close out a perfect league slate for the first time since 2000.

The Warriors grabbed a quick lead on a 3-run home run by Michelle Ridderhoff in the top of the first, but a 4-run bottom half of the inning highlighted by back-to-back home runs by Emily Lezcano and Sara Ross quickly erased that deficit. Then, with the score tied 4-4 in the fifth, Ashley Lentine and Morganne Evans blasted back-to-back shots over the wall in right center as part of a 14-hit, 4-homer day for the 23-6 Broncos, who finish 16-0 in the SCC and have won 22 of their last 24 games.

"I think that's what our team is about," said Ross, whose homer to center in the first gave the Broncos a 4-3 lead. "We never get down on ourselves. We know that we can overcome and persevere. We always come together and we knew that we could do it."

But Wheaton Academy (13-10) battled as well, finishing the day with 9 hits off Montini starter Lauren Trojnar (15-3) and tying the game at 7-7 with a pair of runs in the sixth. But the Warriors saw the game slip away on a pair of miscues in the field that allowed Montini to score twice in the bottom of the sixth.

In the top of that critical sixth inning, Gina Graff and Bridget Koehler singled for Wheaton Academy and lead-off hitter Marissa Gagliano then slapped a hard double in the gap that scored Graff and advanced Koehler to third. Warriors catcher Jessica Bosse then just missed a home run to right, but the deep fly hauled in near the fence did allow Koehler to tag up and score to tie the game at 7-7.

"We battled and we hit the ball well today," Warriors coach Paul Gagliano said. "Michelle got us the good start with the 3-run home run in the first inning. The girls played great. Montini is a great team, but we always play them tough. I'm glad that we played them tough today. It sets us up good going into the playoffs."

With the score tied at 7-7 in the bottom of the sixth, Ross rounded second a little too far after moving up on sacrifice bunt but then managed to make her way to third base safely after getting caught in a rundown.

Ross then scored the winning run on a throwing error on a dropped third strike, which led to two unearned runs after No. 9 hitter Tacia Mesina delivered her second double of the day.

"We knew Wheaton Academy would be a good team," Broncos coach Richie Costante said. "They're well-coached. They know their roles and they do a real good job of executing. We knew it was going to be a tough game, and it lived up to everything we thought it would."

A 3-run deficit as early in the first was not going to worry Montini, which sponsored a Strike Out Cancer day, which featured pink bases and player jerseys with names of loved ones who have been affected by cancer.

"The nice thing is we battle back. When a team gets up on us we answer right back. Our motto is winning every inning, we've done a good job of that the last couple weeks and that's one of the main reasons we're undefeated," Costante said.

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