Softball: Palatine rolls past New Trier in regional opener
In Monday's practice for her team's opening game of the Class 4A state softball tournament, Palatine coach Nicole Capalbo had her players work on getting the proper extension for their bat swings.
The Pirates got it down pretty well on Tuesday and extended their record to 28-2 with a 10-0 five-inning triumph over No. 17 New Trier in the semifinals of the Palatine regional.
Junior left-hander Rhiann Dick tossed a 3-hitter to extend her impressive record to 25-2.
Top-seeded Palatine advanced to Friday's championship game against the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 7 Mundelein and No. 9 Deerfield.
"It was very cold today," said Pirates senior shortstop Emily Parrott. "We are excited now to play in warmer weather on Friday."
Parrott had the last swing in Tuesday's chilly temperatures.
With the bases loaded, she belted the ball past the center fielder but was limited to a single in the score book because it drove home the 10th run for the 10-run rule.
"We worked a lot on Monday on just getting to extension and hitting the ball hard," Parrott said. "And it paid off for us up and down the lineup."
Parrott (2-for-4), Kaitlyn Reed (2-for-3), Amanda Stanczuk (2-for-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI) and Mandy Logan (2-for-3) were multiple hitters for the Pirates.
Stanczuk's first double, a 2-run rocket to center field with one out in the first inning, provided all the runs Dick (6 strikeouts) would need.
"Rhiann has been consistent and levelheaded all season," Capalbo said. "And I'm happy to see that didn't change in the playoffs. I thought the defense played real well behind her. Kayla Courtney (freshman second baseman) made some really good plays. So all around, it was a good game."
Grace Huff, Dick and Emily Brinckerhoff each had a hit for Palatine while catcher Anna Selleck had an RBI in the Pirates' 5-run fifth inning which closed out the game.
"In practice on Monday, we fixed a lot of things our hitters needed to work on," Capalbo said. "And that was great. I think we were confident in the batters box. We got the runs when we needed to and we got just enough to end the game in five."
The Pirates would have had a few more hits if not for the fine defensive play of New Trier center fielder Lidia Orta.
She made back-to-back nice catches on Parrott and Stanczuk to end the fourth inning along with another to rob Dick in the first inning.
"She (Orta) is nursing a wrist injury so she only plays the field," said New Trier coach John Cadwell, who coached his final game after 42 years in the program, most as the head coach.
"We were hit by injuries to three of our top players. And we were a very young team. And we had some other injuries. It happens. You have to play the hand your dealt. I actually felt we played one of our best games. If not for a few mistakes, it might have gone longer (than 5 innings)."