Erin Ward recently learned she just missed a perfect ACT score.
On Monday night, the Barrington junior shortstop helped make sure her Fillies didn't miss a trip to East Peoria for the Class 4A state finals.
Ward came up with solid defense, including two nice plays in the final inning and she went 2-for-4 at the plate as the Fillies topped Warren 8-3 in their own Barrington supersectional at the Fields of Dreams.
Ward, one of only three underclassmen in the Fillies' starting lineup, scored a 35 out of a possible 36 points on her college preparatory exam.
Coincidentally, it was the Fillies' 35th win of the season that gave them a berth in the final four for the fifth time since 2004.
Barrington (35-1) will face St. Charles East (30-5) on Friday at 3 p.m. in the state semifinals at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria.
"This is the craziest thing that has ever happened to me," said Fillies senior third baseman Loren Krzysko, who went 3-for-5 with the game's first RBI in the Fillies' 6-run first inning. "We've been talking about it since the sixth grade and we finally did it."
Krzysko and Ward had a hand in nine of the Warren outs.
"They make a great combination on the left side of the infield," said Fillies coach Perry Peterson. "They get to the ball, they're aggressive and real consistent. They both do a great job."
It was another great hitting day by the Fillies, who punched out 15 hits in their second consecutive game.
Three were by junior Katie Dehnert (3-for-5, RBI) and two by seniors Tess Bolger (2-for-3, 2 walks) and Maggie O'Hara (2-for-4, 2 RBI).
Seniors Krista Moore, Morgan Olszewski and Sam Rosenfeld each had one while senior catcher Raegan Fingerman also had an RBI in the Fillies' big first inning.
"Even knowing we have the hitters, that 6-0 lead right away helped me the whole game," said Barrington sophomore ace Keenan Dolezal (28-1), who retired the fnal eight batters she faced and finished with 6 strikeouts. "It kept me more calm. And every single game, my defense does it for me. I couldn't do it without them."
Warren (27-6) wouldn't go down without a fight, actually outscoring the Fillies 3-2 after the first inning.
"They're terrific," Peterson said. "We knew they had big-time hitters and that they've come back multiple times in the playoffs. We knew they wouldn't stop and you can see that they outscored us after the first inning.
"We have tremendous respect for them and what Tina (Meyer) did in her first season as head coach."
The Blue Devils got on the board in the bottom of the third when Amy Ricci singled to center with two outs and eventually scored on wild pitch to make it 6-1.
Barrington went ahead 7-1 in the fourth when O'Hara singled home Kryzsko with two outs.
Warren got its final 2 runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out, two-run double by Michelle Vasen (2-for-4, 2 doubles) to left which scored Jazmin Bonke and Megan Sowa to make it 7-3.
Barrington's final run came in seventh on Dehnert's single to center with two outs to score Bolger.
Blue Devils pitcher Jenny Carpenter struck out five and did not give up a homer to a Barrington team that has clubbed 54 this season.
"Jenny throws the ball low and has a good change-up," Meyer said. "From scouting Barrington, we knew that would be important. Overall, I thought Jenny did a great job on the mound. We just didn't string hits together."
But the Blue Devils strung together their best-playoff run since 1980 when they won their last sectional.
"The girls should be proud of that," Meyer said. "It's kind of a 'happy sad' because even though they lost, they should proud of what they accomplished.
It's just sad that they got so close."
Sowa, Ricci, Jill Fox, Kelly Majewski, Samantha Belletini and Lisiann Rodriguez graduate from Warren.
"Those six seniors were all a big part in this team and we'll miss them." Meyer said.
"Even though that first inning was rough, we stayed in the game and fought to them end. That's just who these girls are."
Barrington girls will be heading to state for the first time since finishing second in 2008.
"It's always special every time you go (to state)," said Peterson, who has guided seven times to the state finals in his 22 seasons at Barrington. "I'm so happy for our senior class. They dedicated this season to doing things right all the time."
"This is all about the girls and how hard they've worked and did things the right way."
Now they are on their way to East Peoria.