It's usually difficult to beat a team three times in a season, but Montini is making softball look easy these days.
The Broncos defeated Suburban Christian Conference rival St. Francis for a third time this season, winning 11-1 in five innings in Tuesday's Class 3A Glenbard South sectional semifinal. The Broncos will meet either Lemont or Glenbard South in Saturday's sectional final.
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"They always say it's the hardest thing to do, beat (a team) three times, but we really did it," said Montini junior Morganne Evans.
"It was tough," added St. Francis junior Carley Pasquale. "We were all really pumped up for this game, and we were all playing for our seniors at this point. It's a tough one."
The top-seeded Broncos (26-10) took advantage of some St. Francis (24-6) defensive lapses in the second inning, opening a 5-0 lead.
"Besides hitting the ball, any mistakes we made they took advantage of," Spartans coach Ralph Remus said.
Meanwhile, the Broncos were strong defensively. Second baseman Amy Bukovsky, for example, put on a display with her own 1-2-3 third inning backing up winning pitcher Lauren Trojnar (19-5), fielding three straight groundballs, starting with a diving stop of Emma Davis' shot that seemed destined for right field.
"We were all in it mentally," said Evans, who was all in offensively, going 3-for-3 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. "We came out and all the energy was here, even with warmups from the very start. We always work hard in practice, and I'm just so happy it finally showed. It was awesome today."
"We work a lot on our defense," added Montini coach Richie Costante. "We spend as much time and maybe more on our defense as we do on our hitting. You win games like this because of defense. Lauren's a great pitcher. She hits her spots. People don't always get great swings on her. Our defense has to make the plays behind her, and they did that today."
Ali Dittrich cut into the Broncos' lead with her solo home run to right-center field in the top of the fourth, but Montini almost immediately got it back plus two, scoring three times in the bottom of the fourth for an 8-1 lead.
The Broncos ended the game with one out in the bottom of the fifth when Evans scored from second base on Trojnar's single to center, the third run of the inning.
Montini was so thorough offensively, eight of the nine spots in the Broncos' batting order scored a run, and the lone holdout, cleanup hitter Emily Lezcano, got into the act by driving in a run with a fourth-inning double that one-hopped the fence.
"I really think we were very aggressive on the bases," Evans said. "Not only our hitting was on, but even sometimes you get on (base) and it wasn't a great hit, but we ran awesome. We were very aggressive and took extra bases all the time."
"One through nine in the lineup has the ability to put pressure on people," Costante said, "and we're playing well."
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