After ending the last two seasons in regional title games, the St. Charles North softball team was eager to hoist the Class 4A Addison Trail regional plaque.
Behind the clutch pitching and legs of senior Sabrina Rabin, the fourth-seeded North Stars were able to rally from an early deficit to defeat No. 5 Bartlett 5-2 in Saturday's title game. St. Charles North will play Glenbard North in the Bartlett sectional semifinal on Tuesday.
"It feels really good," said Rabin, who went to state with the North Stars her freshman year. "We made it to the regional title game the last two years and lost, and we really wanted this."
The game got off to a rough start for Rabin as Bartlett sophomore Katie Fornoff (2-for-4) opened the game with a triple. A one-out double by senior Kayla Haberstich (2-for-3) made it 1-0 in favor of the Hawks (27-8).
Bartlett senior Holly Pagan (19-6) pitched out of jams in the second and third innings and nearly did again in the fourth before the North Stars (23-7) finally got on the board.
Sophomore Allison Hausl led off the bottom of the fourth with a double and Jordyn Wolfe followed with a single to put runners at the corners with no outs. Hawks senior catcher Dana Paul was able to get Wolfe caught in a run down for the first out and Pagan got her first of 2 strikeouts in the game, but Rabin ripped a hit down the left field line that resulted in a 2-run inside the park home run.
"(Friday), we told them that it's a seven-inning game," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "It's a long game. No matter if they get an early lead or we get an early lead, you just need to stay the course and be yourself because you're good enough to win this game."
Hausl was 2-for-2 with an RBI single to make it 4-1 in the fifth, a frame that included a double from junior Abby Howlett (2-for-4) and an RBI triple by junior Kaitlyn Waslawski (3-for-4, 2B). Rabin doubled in the sixth and scored off senior Mickey Goetz's (2-for-4) single for the game's final run.
Both pitchers went the distance with the North Stars outhitting the Hawks 14-9. Rabin (16-6) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, and limited a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to just one run off an RBI double from sophomore Alyssa Nowak (3-for-4, two 2Bs).
There were a combined 20 runners stranded, 14 in scoring position.
"I expected it to be this way with both teams putting pressure on each other," said Hawks' coach Jim Wolfsmith. "Both pitchers pitched out of some big jams, but you have to give credit to Sabrina and St. Charles North. They just took advantage of their chances a few more times than us."
Junior Alexandra Millett was 2-for-3 for the North Stars.
Glenbard North defeated St. Charles North 5-3 earlier in the season, a game in which the North Stars committed 3 errors.
"We know what kind of challenge to expect from there," Poulin said. "We didn't play particularly well in that game. We'll be ready for them."