After defeating No. 5 seed Mundelein twice in the regular season, No. 4 Warren was hoping to beat the Mustangs again Saturday morning for the championship of the Class 4A Loyola softball regional.
The Mustangs (24-12) fell behind 6-1 after two innings and they could never fully recover as the Blue Devils (23-9) rolled to an 11-4 victory to advance to the sectional for the second straight season.
Warren will face top-seeded New Trier Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Stevenson sectional. The Blue Devils reached the supersectional game last year before bowing out of the state tournament.
Senior Michelle Vasen was one of the hitting stars for Warren as she went 3-for-4 on the day with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.
Senior pitcher Jenny Carpenter was very steady on the mound for the Blue Devils as she picked up the win while scattering 7 hits.
"They really all stood out in their own way, we played confidently, and I thought Jenny (Carpenter) kept them off balance," said Warren coach Bryan McNulty, whose team led 9-3 after five innings and 11-3 after six innings. "Beating a team three times is extremely hard to do and I thought the girls did a great job of keeping their composure."
Lead-off hitter Jazmin Bonke's single got Warren's first-inning rally going before Vasen doubled to put runners on second and third.
Then with one out, clean-up hitter Megan Scott came through with a 2-run double against Mundelein starter Nicole Parney for a 2-0 lead.
After a walk by Rachele Belletini, some defensive miscues really hurt the Mustangs later in the inning as both Scott and Belletini came around to score unearned runs on errors.
Mundelein got that run back in the top of the second as No. 4-hitter Abbey Rosenow walked and later scored on a one-out sacrifice fly by Jamie Hemmer to cut the gap to 4-1. Hemmer came on in relief of Parney with one out in the bottom of the second.
Amber Leneau reached base on a surprise bunt single to get Warren going in the bottom of the second before Bonke followed with a single.
Then Vasen nailed a 2-run double to give the Blue Devils some breathing room with a 6-1 advantage.
The Mustangs did battle back strong in the top of the third as Karlee Busscher singled with one out before Rosenow came to the plate with two outs.
Rosenow made the best of the situation as she blasted a 2-run homer to left-center on an 0-2 pitch to keep Mundelein within striking distance at 6-3.
"We all believe in ourselves, we knew we had to pull together as a team, and we did really well today," said Vasen, whose team had 11 hits in the contest. "We know it's going to be a difficult game (against New Trier), but when we come together I think we're unstoppable."
Warren added to its lead in the fifth inning as Sabrina Trevino singled with one out before Jodie Hurd reached on a walk.
A wild pitch moved the runners up before No. 8-hitter Crystal Pennell came through with a 2-run triple to right field. Then Leneau's fielder's choice RBI brought home Pennell for a comfortable 9-3 lead.
The Blue Devils continued to add on in the sixth inning as Vasen singled singled and scored on a 2-base error on Shannon McKeon's single to left field.
McKeon wound up scoring on Scott's sacrifice fly for an 11-3 lead.
"Hats off to Bryan (McNulty) and his team, he's got a tremendous team," said Mundelein coach Brett Wilhelm, whose team only graduates three seniors. "They're a tough team to beat and I thought we hit (Carpenter) pretty well. They hit very well, but we came back after falling behind 6-1."
Hemmer doubled to right-center and scored on an RBI single by Maddie Zazas in the seventh to account for the final score. Mundelein's Amanda Diaz also had a double in the second inning.
"At this point in the season nobody is out for themselves and it is a one-game season," added McNulty. "Michelle Vasen is probably one of the faster softball players in the state of Illinois. She's a great kid, and she's great defensively."