Softball: Palatine's Grossman gets it done in home finale
Palatine pitcher Sarah Grossman and her senior teammates made their last home game a memorable one on Saturday by winning the championship of their own Class 4A regional.
Grossman (19-2), a Milwaukee School of Engineering recruit, designed a masterpiece in her final appearance on home turf by tossing a 1-hitter with 14 strikeouts to lead the No. 2-seeded Pirates to a 2-0 shutout over No. 7 Grayslake North.
Palatine (26-5) advanced to the Warren sectional and will face No. 3 Carmel in Wednesday's 4:30 p.m. sectional semifinal.
Grayslake North (20-7) had won 14 straight games.
"I just wanted to be strong and throw every pitch as hard and as accurate as I could," said Grossman, who threw her gem to junior receiver Anna Selleck. "I knew if I did that, my team would make the plays and score the runs. Knowing it was our last game on our field I just wanted to leave it all out on that mound.
"Anna (Selleck) and I have gotten really close over the last three years and I don't trust anybody behind the plate like I trust her. She is a really special player and having her catch me has been an absolute honor and I am really going to miss her. She is going to do good things for Palatine softball next year as a senior and I can't wait to see what she accomplishes."
Palatine is hoping to accomplish more in Gurnee next week.
"At this point in the season, we've got to give it all we've got to stay alive," said Pirates senior third baseman Maddie Craver. "As a senior it's especially emotional because we don't want our high school career to end.
"I consider it an honor when the ball is hit to me because I get a chance to help my team. We are so excited to play the next game and keep our season going."
Top hitters for Palatine were freshman Kaitlyn Reed (2-for-2) and junior Grace Huff (1-for-2, 2 RBI, walk).
Huff's double off the center field fence in the first inning drove home Craver (walk) and Emily Parrott (reached on an error), and the 2 runs were all Grossman needed.
"Sarah is a gamer," said Palatine coach Nicole Capalbo, who led the Pirates to their second straight regional crown and the program's seventh. "She hit her spots and shut a very good hitting team down. Our defense played well behind her and all we needed was to two runs to get the job done today."
Grossman's batterymate got her 300th putout of the season.
"She has caught every single inning this season and has been an absolute rock behind the plate," said Pirates assistant coach Kristen Proffitt. "The work that she does is sometimes overshadowed by other big moments, but her catching has been phenomenal.
"She is completely humble about the job that she does behind the plate, and she always gives credit to her teammates. We would not be this successful without her."
"When I'm catching, I'm really just focusing on the pitchers and setting them up the best I can in order to get the calls for them," Selleck said. "Catching for Sarah and Rhiann (Dick) this season has been amazing and I wouldn't be the catcher I am today without them."
Maine South 8, Leyden 4: No 3-seeded Leyden fell to No. 6 Maine South in the championship of the Maine East Class 4A regional in Park Ridge.