Monday morning's Class 4A regional softball game could have started better for West Chicago, but the Wildcats had no problems whatsoever with how they finished.
After a sloppy first inning West Chicago (12-20) found itself in a 1-1 tie with an East Aurora squad it had shut out twice during the regular season. After three innings the Wildcats lead was just 3-1, but an 8-run explosion in the fourth inning powered the No. 14 seed to an 11-1, 5-inning victory over the Tomcats, the No. 19 seed in the Oswego East sectional.
"It didn't go as we expected (early on). The last two times we played them they didn't score, and today we started off with a rough start," West Chicago center fielder Jenna Foreman said. "But as the game went on we realized that wasn't the team that we are; we're better than that. We came together well and strung some hits."
Foreman led the way for the Wildcats, going 3-for-3 with 3 runs scored. She reached in the bottom of the of first on a bunt single and promptly swiped two bases before coming home on a groundout by Jillian Staton. She also singled and scored in the third inning off Tomcats starter Lexi Bee, then delivered a 2-run single as the hosts batted around in the big fourth inning.
"I thought we picked each other up with our bats," said Foreman, whose team now sets it sights on third-seeded Downers Grove North in the regional semifinals Tuesday at Neuqua Valley. "We hit through that inning. I hope it happens tomorrow. We played them my freshman year and beat them in the regionals in a 13-inning game."
Wildcats pitcher Kayla Goffinet, making her first start of the spring, walked the first batter of the game. A single and two errors allowed East Aurora to grab a quick 1-0 lead. But Goffinet blanked the Tomcats the rest of the way and finished with 8 strikeouts while allowing just two hits in the five-inning contest.
"We were shaky in the beginning, but we really came together to play and we knew we had to get a win. So we did," Goffinet said. "Today came first. We can't get to tomorrow without getting it done today. Now we're going to play our hearts out tomorrow and see what happens."
Foreman was not the only hitting star for the Wildcats. Staton was 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, and in the 8-run fourth Amy Goldsmith had a deep 2-run double and Erica Spelman added an RBI double as West Chicago sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning.