Softball: Barrington tops Lake Zurich for 18th straight regional crown
With a good hand of alumni from Barrington's tradition-rich softball program on hand Saturday, the Fillies showed them not much has changed since they left.
Top-seeded Barrington won an 18th consecutive regional crown.
Jackie Albrecht fired a 7-hitter with 6 strikeouts to defeat No. 6 Lake Zurich 5-2 in the championship game of the Class 4A Barrington regional at the Fields of Dreams.
The Fillies (30-4) advance to the Hampshire sectional where they will face Huntley (30-7) in Wednesday's 4:30 p.m. semifinal.
"It's (postseason success) definitely something we want to keep going," said Barrington senior second baseman Samantha Murphy (2-for-3), one of two Fillies with multiple hits. "We know the legacy they left for us and we want to do the same for the future players."
Albrecht is one of those future players. The sophomore right-hander has also shown she's a weapon in the batter's box.
Albrecht clubbed her third homer in two games with a two-out blast over the left-center field fence in the bottom of the second inning to make it 4-0.
The Fillies scored 3 runs in the top of the first, thanks to RBI singles by Kendall Peterson and Murphy. Peterson also came home on a wild pitch for the other run.
"We want to get those runs early runs for our pitchers," said Murphy, who doubled down the right field line and scored on Ellie Wintringer's single to left for an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
"Those early runs are very important," Albrecht said. "It makes it a lot easier to pitch."
Albrecht also lined a single to right in the sixth inning to go 2-for-3.
Katherine Stagnito, Leyden Atlas and Tori Meyer also hit safely for the Fillies, who won their 23rd regional in program history and reached the 30-win mark for the 16th time in the last 19 seasons under hall of fame coach Perry Peterson.
"Lake Zurich played well," Perry Peterson said. "It was a good game. We have a lot of respect for them. We've competed against them for regional titles many times over the past 20-plus seasons. We always know it's going to be a battle."
It wasn't quite as much a battle when the teams met on March 21. Barrington won 12-2 in five innings.
"We fought this time," said Lake Zurich coach Kelly Hardbarger.
The time, Lake Zurich (17-11) trailed only 4-2 in the sixth when pitcher Maura Ginn and Stephanie Keefe put together back-to-back two-out singles scoring Julia Zaucha (2-for-3) and Elizabeth Chialdikas.
The Bears had chances early, too.
Walks to Zaucha and Chialdikas and a single by Haley Gajewski loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning when Albrecht escaped with a grounder back to the mound.
Kennedy Williams and Zaucha led off the third with singles but Albrecht was up to task again, eventually getting an inning-ending groundout to third baseman Kendall Peterson.
"If we could have scored those runners, we would have been in the game early," Hardbarger said. "But we got here (to regional final). And we got here with fundamentals. It was 5-2. I'll take it. Not many errors. We were putting hits together and were executing on our signs."
Albrecht's execution on the mound kept her perfect at 12-0 this spring.
"I had my changeup going pretty well," she said. "They got on it a little in the first two innings but then it started to become more effective."
As for her hitting, Albrecht said it's focus.
"I'm really seeing the ball better than earlier in the season," she said. "I'm more focused just on hitting now rather than worrying about pitching at the same time."