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updated: 5/27/2014 9:07 PM

Benet storms past Batavia

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By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent

Technically, Benet did come from behind in Tuesday's regional semifinal with Batavia, but it took just one inning for the top-seeded Redwings to take command.

The No. 16 Bulldogs scored a run in the top of the first inning of the Class 4A playoff game in Lisle, but Benet answered by sending 17 batters to the plate while scoring 14 runs in the bottom of the first. The 30-2 Redwings also batted around in a 6-run third inning on their way to a 20-1 victory that advances them to Saturday's regional final against either Naperville North or Bolingbrook.

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"That's not a bad first inning," said Benet shortstop Marissa Panko, who started the big rally with a double and later in the first inning belted a 3-run home run. "You can never take anyone for granted. You know, they came out strong as well. They had bases loaded after they had scored a run."

Batavia (10-20), which beat Metea Valley in Monday's regional opener, started the game with a triple by Ryanne Rokos and had the bases loaded with one out and one in before Redwings pitcher Molly Moran struck out two straight to limit the damage.

The Redwings then scored 14 times in the first inning with 7 hits, 6 walks, a hit batsmen and an error,with Panko scoring twice and having 6 total bases. For the game the Northwestern-bound leadoff hitter went 2-for-3 with a walk, a sacrifice fly and 4 RBI.

"I think most of our wins have come from behind so we're confident doing that….but it's nice to get ahead early. Either way works," she said.

While no one had a better first inning than Panko, her teammate across the diamond also had a huge day at the plate. First baseman Emily York singled twice and scored twice in the first inning, then added another single in the second and a 3-run home run in thethird to finish 4-for-4.

"That felt really good. Obviously, it's nice to get a cushion like that right away," said York, who now has 11 longballs in the spring. "We knew we couldn't overlook anybody. We knew that we had to come out strong and I feel like we did it in that first inning."

The Bulldogs were without top pitcher Rachael Lovestrand, and both Alyssa Klemm and Nicole Peercy struggled with the Benet attack.

"They're a good hitting team and they made the adjustments," Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said. "They started the game with a double and just didn't let up."

Moran improved to 19-1 on the year with the 5-inning win, striking out 8 and allowing just three hits, all of which came in the first inning.

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