Softball: IC Catholic beats Lisle to reach third straight sectional final
Reaching a sectional final isn't something new for the IC Catholic Prep softball program.
But the route the Knights took to this point this spring is indeed a little different.
A young squad that started off 2-7, ICCP nevertheless will play for a third consecutive sectional championship after defeating Lisle 10-2 at Benedictine University on Wednesday.
The Knights (19-13) have now won 17 of 23 contests to reach Saturday's 11 a.m. final, where they will meet Aurora Central Catholic. This will be the fourth meeting between the teams, with the Chargers emerging victorious twice so far.
"We started off really slow," ICCP coach Frank Reaber said. "We played a tough schedule and we played some conference games early. So we fell behind a bit. We had to get our rhythm. And now our pitching and defense has really improved."
Indeed, Wednesday's victory was a complete team effort. Ten players contributed hits, with the visitors scoring 9 of their runs with two outs. Add in a flawless defensive effort and that was more than enough support for veteran pitcher Kayla Faber, who struck out 10 in a complete-game effort.
The senior also contributed a pair of RBI singles.
"Our defense and offense came to play today," said Faber, who has missed some time in the pitching circle this year with an injury. "Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. But when we come to play, we can play with any team.
"It just took us a little time to jell and work as a team. But once that happened, you can see how things have changed. And hopefully that will continue."
Becca Cash had 3 hits, including a double and triple, and Alessandra Eccardt, Kayla Cervantes and Natalie Murillo tallied 2 hits apiece. Murillo kicked off the scoring with an RBI single in the opening inning, and Cash drove in 2 in the second as ICCP quickly led 4-0.
The host Lions drove in single runs in the second and fourth innings with Emma Rossin and Hannah Baur contributing RBI hits. Lisle started four sophomores and two freshmen and finished with a record of 8-15.
"I'm proud of them," Lisle coach Trent Schalk said. "I'm proud of the way they battled all year and I look forward to an exciting future.
"Sometimes it just isn't your day. I thought we came out and did what we could and we played great defense. But they put the ball where we weren't. They just beat us today."