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updated: 6/9/2014 10:59 PM

Sandburg knocks out Naperville Central

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  • Naperville Central's Courtney Giebel, right, tags out Brianna Soltis of Sandburg, left, after she got caught between third base and home plate in the 6th inning during Class 4A supersectional softball at North Central College in Naperville on Monday.

       Naperville Central's Courtney Giebel, right, tags out Brianna Soltis of Sandburg, left, after she got caught between third base and home plate in the 6th inning during Class 4A supersectional softball at North Central College in Naperville on Monday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

Asked her pitching record after warming up, Sandburg left-hander Sarah Herold said she didn't know.

"We didn't have a very good season," she said.

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The Eagles were good enough Monday to oust Naperville Central from the state softball playoffs. Scoring all the runs required in a 3-run first inning, Sandburg beat the Redhawks 4-2 at the Class 4A North Central College supersectional in Naperville.

A six-time supersectional winner and 2010 Class 4A champion, Sandburg advances to the quarterfinals in East Peoria to play Lincoln-Way East.

"Everybody comes alive in the playoffs," said Herold, who wore out the black of the plate with a screwball and riser. She struck out 8 and allowed 5 hits and no earned runs in 5⅓ innings before tiring, Emily Griskell in for the save.

"I had this comment a long time ago about the Cubs -- they won 100 years ago in the playoffs," Herold said. "I mean, nobody was expecting it. And so, here's us, the underdogs."

Insert your own Cubs joke here, but there was no laughter in red and white when Sandburg (23-15) took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning against Naperville Central ace Keegan Hayes (17-7).

The Eagles loaded the bases with one out, catcher Karli McLaughlin delivering a sacrifice fly and Kristen Zarate following with a two-out, two-run double.

"If we can hold them to one (run) coming out of that inning I think we're in OK shape," said Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum, whose team ended its season 28-8.

"You pitch differently, you hit differently when your attitude is, 'We've only got to get one.' But when you're behind 3-0 in a winner-take-all game, sometimes girls think they've got to go up and hit a three-run homer when there's no one on base," he said.

He made a move on the mound in the fourth, bringing in hard-throwing Julie Kestas with runners on first and second. Ending a 10-pitch at-bat, Sandburg's Brianna Soltis made it 4-0, singling in Cierra Adamus from second base ahead of the throw by Syracuse-bound center fielder Maddi Doane.

Naperville Central halved the deficit in the fifth inning. Katie Lamich dumped a two-out single into right, and after Doane reached on an error, Purdue-Calumet recruit Kaitlyn Skarecky cracked a shot that ticked off Herold's glove and into center, scoring both runners.

The Redhawks erased two Sandburg runners trying to score in the fifth and sixth innings, then went to work in the seventh.

Lamich and Doane reached against Griskel, Skarecky following with a fielder's choice. Naperville Central's No. 3 hitter, lefty Lindsay Gonzalez, smashed a slicing liner shortstop Adams speared backhanded. She threw to second for the double-play force, and that was that.

"I didn't see the shortstop catching that ball at all," Nussbaum said. "On a line drive usually you want your runners to freeze, but I thought the ball was in."

But now, one win from their first quarterfinal berth since 2009, the Redhawks are out.

"I think we had a great season this year, and it definitely is not fun to lose this way so close to going downstate," said Redhawks shortstop Lisa Tassi. "I think we played a good game, we fought to the end. In the seventh inning it definitely looked like we had a chance, but in the end I think we just weren't stringing hits together through most of the game, and that's what got us."

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