Elgin has never won the Larkin Slugfest softball tournament.
On Saturday, the Maroons had a chance to play for the 20th annual tournament's championship at the Elgin Sports Complex but let it slip away in the final two innings of a 3-2 loss in eight innings to Joliet West in the semifinals.
Elgin did come back to beat St. Edward 10-4 and claim third place, going 2-1 on the day after beating Mt. Assisi 10-8 in the opening round.
St. Edward went 1-2, beating Larkin 14-0 in the first round before falling to Plainfield Central 13-1 in the semifinals. Larkin was 0-3 on the day.
Plainfield Central won the tournament for the first time since 2010, beating newcomer Joliet West 7-1 in the title game.
"For the most part I'm happy with the day," said Elgin coach Chad Dahlman. "We let (Joliet West) tie us up in the bottom of the seventh and then losing it in the eighth, the girls were a little down but they came back and hit the ball well (against St. Edward)."
Slugfest has a 14-inning max rule on pitchers for the day so Dahlman was splitting time with junior Jennah Perryman and freshman Jessica Rago, with junior Anna Eckholm in reserve. Against Mt. Assisi, the Maroons fell behind 3-0 but came back to eventually lead 10-5 and then hang on to win 10-8. Eckholm (2-for-2, 3 RBI) and Kelly Bremer (3-for-4) each homered for Elgin, while Caroline Sobeski (2-for-4, 2 doubles, 2 RBI), Monica Stockman (2B, RBI), Bri Wright (2 RBI) and Rago (2B) also contributed to the offense. Perryman got the win in the circle.
Perryman then locked up in a pitchers duel with Joliet West junior Joy Treasure in the semifinals. Elgin was finally able to break a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth when Bremer beat out a bunt and scored on a two-out infield error. The Maroons added a run in the seventh. Perryman beat out an infield single with a headfirst slide into first base and scored on a Bremer triple.
But Joliet West came back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning, using 3 walks and 3 Elgin errors to score 2 unearned runs.
"I got a little tired," said Perryman, who was on her 11th inning of the day. She struck out 14 in the game and walked 4.
The Tigers (13-7) then won the game in the bottom of the eighth on Alysia Rodriguez's RBI single with two outs.
Sabrina Stockman was 3-for-4 for Elgin and Bremer had 2 hits.
In the third-place game Perryman set the tone with a first-inning solo home run off St. Edward freshman Lindsay Zdroik, who started all three games for the Green Wave and split time with sophomore Angela Zenteno.
Elgin (9-7) added 2 runs in the third and 2 more in the fourth, then used a 5-run fifth to put the game away. The Maroons' 11-hit attack was led by Eckholm (2-for-4, RBI), Perryman (4-for-5, 4 RBI) and Rago (3-for-4, RBI). Rago also got the complete-game win in the circle allowing 8 hits with 8 strikeouts and no walks.
"I feel pretty good about the day," said Perryman, the Ball State commit who now has 5 home runs this season. "We all came together as a team and started hitting better. Our hitting has come a long way since the start of the season."
"The bats are coming around a little better," agreed Dahlman.
Perryman and Bremer were named to the all-tournament team.
St. Edward senior Kali Kossakowski, an NIU recruit, was 4-for-4 with a double, 2 stolen bases and an RBI for the Green Wave (9-7). Allison Stratman had a double and an RBI and Ashley Gradisher drove in 2 runs.
The Green Wave started their day on a positive note against Larkin with their first shutout of the season, shared by Zdroik and Zenteno. Kossakowski had 2 hits, 2 stolen bases and an RBI, Ryann Scully had 2 hits and an RBI, Zdroik drove in 2 runs, Kristi Kroll had a 3-run double in the first inning, Julie Larson had 2 hits and Kelly Theriault drove in a run.
But against Plainfield Central, St. Edward managed just 2 hits.
"We started out well," said Wave coach Jaci Corn. "They were energetic, they were hitting and they played good defense. But we didn't have that all day and we need to work on being consistent when we're playing at a higher level."
Kossakowski and Zdroik were named to the all-tournament team.
Even though Larkin (1-16) didn't win a game, the Royals did snap a streak of 7 straight shutouts and coach Anne Vogt found positives along the way.
"We scored some runs and we got some baserunners," said Vogt. "We had some kids step up and play well today and we had some kids come out of some slumps. We went from having 1-2 hits in our last few games to a much better day, I'm proud of them. They never gave up."
Jaclyn Saurbaugh had 3 hits including 2 doubles for the Royals against Waukegan, while Alexis Price had 2 hits with a triple, Alex Buhrow had 2 hits and Holly Zdroik a double.
Against Oak Lawn, Sarah Hansen hit a home run for Larkin, with Sam Wahl (2B), Beka Harrington (2 hits, 2B), Saurbaugh (2 hits) and Rachel Martinez (2B) also contributing.
Hansen was named to the all-tournament team.