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updated: 6/5/2014 11:48 PM

Downers South gets the upper hand

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By Joe Cosentino

The teams were matched well with both having good hitting, solid defense and outstanding pitchers. But it was Downers Grove South that picked up a 7-4 win against Downers Grove North at the Class 4A Oswego East softball sectional semifinals on Thursday.

The Mustangs (33-2) move on to play Naperville Central in the sectional championship at 11a.m. Saturday.

"We knew all along this was going to be a really good hitting team," said Trojans coach Eric Landschoot. "They were able to string some hits together in (the seventh) inning, with that you're going to be successful and we didn't make a few plays."

It was a pitching duel between the Mustangs' Caroline Hedgcock (18-2) and Trojans' Dale Ryndak (22-2) until the bottom of the third inning when the Mustangs broke the game open with a 7-run inning keyed by a 3-run double by Jessica Andree.

"There were some really good hits overall and they helped us out a little bit," said Mustangs coach Ron Havelka. "We manufactured runs and got some people over. There was a walk here and there. We did a good job.

"(Ryndak) is as good as they come. We worked on trying to be able to hit the ball off her and we were able to do that."

Hedgcock held the Trojans (28-3-1) in check, not allowing a hit for 6⅔ innings. Ryndak reached base on an error, advanced on two infield outs and scored when Anne Lusher reached base on another error. With Lusher on Kaylee Newstrom singled and Jaclyn Pasakarnis sent a long ball over the fence in center field for a 3-run homer to cut the Mustangs' lead to 7-4. But the rally fell short.

"I had a lot of pitches going and towards the end it gets kind of tough to finish," Hedgcock said. "They have a good program. I just came out here and wanted to play a really good game ... I know we just needed to play our game. I know we got a good defense behind me and I trust in them."

Despite having five sophomores in his starting lineup -- Megan LoBianco, Kristen Bialek, Kristin Lea, Nicole Bowman and Hedgcock -- Havelka felt confident his team would close out the game.

"Our kids have been playing well," Havelka said. "I just hope they can keep it up. We been in close games before. We let that one get away a little bit in the last inning."

Ryndak, who will play at Arizona State next year, had an ERA of 0.10 going into the game.

"I didn't have my A-game today," Ryndak said. "I did expect them to be tough. We were just a little shaky that one inning."

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