Addison Trail didn't want a first-round bye. It wanted to dive into Class 4A Addison Trail regional play right away.
The Blazers showed why with Monday's 20-0, five-inning softball victory against visiting Larkin.
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The Blazers, the No. 13 seed in the Bartlett sectional, built plenty of momentum going into their game against No. 4 St. Charles North at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Larkin was the 20th seed.
"I was excited that we had to play a play-in game," said third baseman Blazers senior Danielle Ciaglia, who went 3-for-3 with a double, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. "Some of the other teams are off today, and we don't know what they're doing to practice, but we actually got the competition of a game, so I think this will put us in a good position tomorrow against a better team."
"Last year we were a little disappointed with having to play the play-in game with the five teams here, but I think it works maybe to our advantage a little bit," Blazers coach Mark Olson added. "You get one under your belts. Last year we went right out to Bartlett. We were young and inexperienced and it showed. Hopefully, it'll lead to that momentum and those jitters won't come out tomorrow."
Starting in a 4-run first inning, the Blazers (20-16) showed their bats are ready for regional play. Ari Renc walked and scored on Carla Muell's single to left field. Kelly Delawder reached base on the first of 9 Larkin errors, and Rachel Baumgartner took first on a fielder's choice. With the bases loaded Alex DiSilvio's single scored Muell and Delawder, with Baumgartner scoring on an error on the play.
That first inning they jumped on us, and we've had a tough road trying to recover from any type of deficit like that," Larkin coach Anne Vogt said. "Our bats just aren't getting moving in time. We're not answering to their runs. It's kind of been the struggle all year."
The Blazers' parade of runs had just begun, however. They scored eight times in the second inning, sending 12 batters to the plate.
"We were ready to play, but then throughout the game we started showing the power that we have and how good of a team we actually are," Ciaglia said.
The Royals (4-25) were without four starters, and it showed in the field.
"We've had some bumps in the road all season," Vogt said. "... It was pretty brutal, but we came out here and did our best with what we had."
Meanwhile, winning pitcher Crystal Marinelli was shutting down Larkin, allowing just 2 hits in four innings before yielding to Alyssa McMahan in the fifth. McMahan gave up 1 hit and struck out one Larkin batter.
"She was doing great," Ciaglia said of Marinelli. "She was throwing strikes, exactly what we needed, and the defense was making all the plays."
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