In case there was still any doubt, Montini's softball team made it very clear Saturday: The Broncos are for real.
Top-seeded Montini defeated No. 2 Glenbard South for the second time this season, taking a 14-6 victory at the Class 3A Glenbard South sectional final.
"We had a lot of negative toward us, and coming out here and proving everyone wrong is the best feeling in the world," said Montini senior first baseman Sara Ross.
It is the first sectional championship for the Broncos (27-10), who just collected the program's first sectional victory in the semifinal Tuesday.
"It was a great win," Montini coach Richie Costante said. "The girls came to play today. It was a heck of a job. Going against the two-time defending state champs, you know nothing is going to be easy."
A 5-run first inning and a 2-run second had Montini feeling good. But Glenbard South (25-9) didn't win the last two Class 3A titles by folding at the first sign of adversity. The Raiders cut the lead to 7-3 in the top of the third inning, 7-5 in the fifth.
"We had a talk before the game that this game is going to last seven innings," Ross said. "It's going to be a lot of ups and downs, so we had to stay in it. We were telling each other to stay up."
"They're a (heck) of a team, they're champions, and I tip my hat to them, they never go away," Costante added about the Raiders.
Montini responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth, then nearly invoked the 10-run rule with a 6-run sixth that provided more than enough insurance heading to the Raiders' final at-bats.
Ashley Cohen, who went 3-for-3 for the Raiders with 2 runs scored, 2 doubles and an RBI, came across with a consolation run in the top of the seventh, driven in by junior Taylor Carli.
A grounder to Montini third baseman Morganne Evans ended the threat, the game and the Raiders' run of five trips downstate in the past six seasons.
"Obviously there's nothing to hang our heads about," Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda said. "This is a group that everybody counted out. I mean everybody. We graduated an all-state pitcher, an all-state catcher. ...
"You can't say that they didn't leave it all out on the field because today they did. The ball just didn't bounce our way. There were too many times where they hit the holes or the hard ground and it bounced over us or whatever. I'm super proud of this group. They've come so, so far it's amazing."
The Broncos finished with 19 hits on the day, with sophomore catcher Alyssa Sclafani going 3-for-4 with a double, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.
"Obviously, they are hitting 1 through 9," Fonda said of the Broncos. "They're just going up there hacking. They're in it to put the ball in play and not just be satisfied with the ball bouncing around but they were crushing it. Richie's done a great job with that program to get the mentality changed. They definitely have a great shot of making it down (to the Class 3A semifinals), one, and then two, doing some damage. I hope I can say I lost to the state champion. I'd like to say that."
Before they can go downstate, the Broncos first must get past St. Ignatius at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Rosemont Stadium supersectional.
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