Softball: Marist ends Geneva's surprise run
Greg Dierks rattled off two quick facts from scouting Marist, the 2012 and 2015 state champions and Geneva's opponent Monday in the Class 4A Marist supersectional.
Marist has not lost to a team from Illinois this year.
And the Redhawks have not given up a run in the postseason.
"Those are daunting things," Dierks said.
Geneva did change one of those facts Monday but not the one it hoped to. With their lineup full of Division I players, the Redhawks scored twice in the first inning and never looked back in a 10-2 win.
All good things come to an end and it did for both this Cinderella Geneva team, the 14th seed who won the program's first sectional title, and Dierks, who is retiring after 30 years coaching the Vikings.
"When the disappointment of the day wears off and a little bit of the pain and sadness especially the seniors being done, they will have a wonderful memory. I have the same," Dierks said.
"I told them nothing bad can happen when you are playing softball in June. You can be a little disappointed but we're all real proud of what we did."
Marist (36-2) will play Huntley (33-7) at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the second state semifinal at EastSide Centre in East Peoria.
Geneva ends the year at 18-12 after its best ever postseason, quite a turnaround from starting 0-4 and 1-7 this spring.
"It was a good run," junior center fielder Carissa Bombardiere said. "Breaking school records is cool. Being underdogs I'm glad we got this far. They (Marist) are very good."
Marist starter Angela Zedak retired Geneva in order in the top of the first. She then started a two-out rally in the bottom of the first with a single against Shelly Deisz.
Lexi Voss followed with a long drive to deep center that Bombardiere momentarily had in her mitt but the ball popped out and over the fence for a 2-run homer.
"I didn't get as good of a jump as I wish I did," Bombardiere said. "Without a warning track I couldn't really tell where the fence was. It was unfortunate. I tried my best."
The Vikings went quietly in the second and third innings, and Marist extended to a 6-0 lead with four runs in the bottom of the third. The Redhawks had four hits in the inning and ran the bases aggressively.
"In person I would say top through the bottom of their bating order was a little tougher than what I saw the day I watched," Dierks said. "There were some really good pitches we threw they got hits on. They have a lot of good hitters but their three and four hitters, it's tough to pitch to them.
"They lived up to everything the scouting report said. Someone is going to have to play really well to beat them."
Madison Femia put Geneva on the board with an RBI single in the fourth to score Alyssa Kramer who reached on a fielder's choice.
Marist scored four more runs in the fifth to take a 10-1 lead and had a chance to win by the 10-run rule with a runner at second. Deisz got out of the inning on a grounder to Kramer at third.
Geneva scored its second run in the sixth on a two-out line single to right by Bella Walton.
"I did not want to end before seven innings for sure so I was happy we were able to fight through that," Dierks said. "I asked Shelly if she had had enough and she said, 'No I'm good, let's go.' Good for her."
Deisz excelled in the postseason holding No. 1 seed Yorkville to 1 run, shutting out Naperville Central and going extra innings to beat both Plainfield East and Downers Grove South in last week's sectional.
The Vikings made a couple good plays in the field Monday including Kramer snagging a hot shot at third and Erdmann's diving catch to take a hit away in left field. Erdmann also threw out a runner at third base.
That was the type of quality softball Dierks is going to remember about this team, his final one after coaching Geneva's varsity since 1990.
"I'm very proud of them and I'm very happy they let this last a little longer," Dierks said. "The hardware they got is going to hang in the hallway forever. They should be really proud of all of that. It was a great effort. Coming out as the 14th seed and getting through the sectional is not easy to do. They will have memories forever from this."