Softball: Palatine powers past Barrington
Just call it Palatine's 'Inning of Dreams' at the Field of Dreams.
Trailing 3-0 with two outs in the top of the sixth inning in the Class 4A Barrington softball supersectional, the Pirates scored 6 runs thanks to a pair of 3-run homers to top the host Fillies 6-3 on Monday night.
Freshman Kaitlyn Reed, the No. 9 hitter, slugged a 1-2 pitcher over the center field fence to tie the game at 3-3. And after walks to Maddie Craver (2-for-3) and Grace Huff, junior Emily Parrott powered her third home run in as many games, also to center field, for the 6-3 lead.
The Pirates (29-5) won their first supersectional in school history and will make their first appearance in Friday's state finals when they face Plainfield North in the 5:30 p.m. semifinal at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria.
"The third time was definitely the charm," said Pirates senior left fielder Brittany Padden, whose double to left started the big sixth-inning comeback. "We came really close the first two times we played Barrington and it feels really good to finally pull it off. It will be great to come back and see all three banners in the outfield -- and maybe four."
Catcher Anna Selleck (2-for-4) followed Padden's double with a single to center.
After relief pitcher Tori Meyer got the second out with a strikeout, Reed came up and belted her first career home run, scoring Padden and courtesy runner Emily Brinckerhoff.
"It's kind of a blur," Reed said. "I was just trying to score Brittany with a base hit. I was just so glad it went over the fence. It's an unbelievable feeling. I could have never imagined my first homer happening in this game. It was at a perfect time and I'm so glad it helped my team and got the rally going."
"Kaitlyn has no fear," said Palatine coach Nicole Pauly Capalbo. "So I knew when she stepped to the plate she'd put the ball in play. That was her plan, and luckily it went over the fence."
Moments later, it was Parrott's turn to put the ball over the fence with two runners on base.
And now it's Parrott's turn to play in the state finals, just like her mother Tammy (Hanke) did as a sophomore for Arlington in 1984 and as a junior for Prospect in 1985.
"Tammy and Emily now have both gone to state," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. "So this is special for their family. Congratulations to both of them."
Peterson, whose team finished at 33-4, also heaped praise on the Pirates for their Final Four appearance.
"Most importantly, you have to congratulate Palatine," he said. "They made lifetime moments in pressure situations. As much as our team wanted to win, we are appreciative and excited for Palatine and their coaches.
"They do it the right way. Nicole (Capalbo) is an elite coach who is going to be outstanding as time goes on. She has done just a great job."
Senior Sarah Grossman did her job again, throwing a 7-hitter with 3 strikeouts to run her record to 23-2.
"Unbelievable," Capalbo said of the Milwaukee School of Engineering recruit. "She got in some trouble. They were getting some base hits up the middle and putting pressure on us defensively. But when the ball came to us, we made the plays and Sarah made the big pitches when we needed her to."
"Everyone has worked so hard for this," Grossman said. "To beat Barrington and go downstate were our last two goals, and we checked them both off tonight."
The Fillies scored first when Jenna Patino doubled off the left field fence and scored on Kendall Peterson's 1-out single to center.
They added two more runs in the fifth inning when Jessica Bellis (2-for-3) scored on wild pitch and Abbey Jacobsen belted an RBI double to left center to score Samantha Murphy for the 3-0 advantage.
Peterson went with Catherine McMahon for the first four innings and Tori Meyer the final three.
"When a freshman No. 9 hitter belts a 3-run homer, that's how momentum swings," Peterson said. "You've got to tip your cap to that. We had a Division I pitcher out there who has pitched well all year long, has done a great job and was well rested.
"That was our strategy all season, to keep sharing the innings. McMahon had only pitched 105 innings all season and Tori only 80-some innings."
Suffice it to day, Capalbo's Pirates never feel they are out of the game.
"I don't know what it is with two outs this season, but we've just had good luck that way," Capalbo said. "And having Kaitlyn in the No. 9 spot is like having two leadoff batters back to back.
"Barrington is a good team and has been for a very long time. Perry does a great job with his program. They have strong hitters, strong defense and they're strong on the mound. We just knew we had to put in a full seven innings of work and we had to score runs. They all came in one inning, but we'll take it."
Peterson said the Fillies will learn from the game.
"We learned the game is fragile and you've got to be great at that big moment," he said. "I feel bad for seniors. They've done a great job this year and really kept this team strong this year. They made it 'go-go-go'. We're 33-4 this year so they have a lot to be proud of."