Softball: Ryan sets Buffalo Grove strikeout leader in sectional win over Libertyville

After seeing Hannah Hull break the home run record for Buffalo Grove on April 18, first-year coach Martha Kelly got to watch another milestone Tuesday in the Class 4A Warren sectional softball semifinal.

Bison southpaw ace Kate Ryan became the program's all-time leader in strikeouts as top-seeded Buffalo Grove posted a 10-4 triumph over No. 5 Libertyville (25-12).

The Bison (25-5) will face the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 3 Warren and No. 7 Palatine for the title on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Ryan's 8 strikeouts on Tuesday gave her 362 for her career, three ahead of former record holder 1999 graduate Kim Czapla.

Hull's dramatic game-winning 23rd homer two weeks ago in the Mid-Suburban League championship game broke the record of Andrea DiPrima.

"I am their biggest fan," Kelly said. "I'm rooting for them. I want them to do that. What makes this season a little more special and memorable is that we have all these other things occurring besides the wins, having the fun and all that stuff. You put it all together and it is a good package."

The Bison put their offense together falling behind 2-0, thanks to a triple by Peyton Murphy, RBI double by Samantha Whisenand and an RBI single by Anna Mitchell in the second inning.

BG took the lead for good in the fourth with 3 runs, getting a leadoff double by shortstop Jenna Kosnoff (3-for-4, 2 doubles, 2 RBI), a walk to Hull (3 for the game) and a sacrifice fly by catcher JJ Jakosalem (1-for-3, double).

The big inning was the 13-batter, 7-run fifth, including the big hit, a grand slam by sophomore Paige Veller (3-for-4) over the left-center field fence for her fourth homer of the season.

Kayla O'Malley had a sacrifice fly in the inning. Teammates Leah Hampton and McKenna Wagner also hit safely in the game.

Whisenand, Mitchell and Makayla Boone each had 2 hits for the Wildcats.

"I knew it was going to be a challenge," said Libertyville coach Sean Ferrell whose freshman Maddy Kleemann caught the whole game. "They're a good team and a No. 1 seed for a reason. And she (Ryan) is a very good pitcher."

The Coastal Carolina recruit (Ryan) credited her teammates.

"It's really exciting and I'm just really happy that I have such a great team that got me to a place where we made it this far so I could break the (strikeout) record," said Ryan (12-4), who did it despite missing a full season due to the canceled COVID-19 season. "And it was nice having Jenna (13-1 on the mound) helping out this season because it gave my arm a rest."

Ferrell said he will miss his four seniors - Whisenand, Mitchell, Murphy and Finnley Olsen, who also had a hit and pitched the final two innings in relief of freshman Taylor Higham.

"Honestly, I've been coaching a long time and they're four of the best I coached," Ferrell said. "I'm proud of our kids and how they played. We came in believing we could win and we played hard. I looked at our kids in the dugout and they were always right up at the fence pushing and grinding to the end."

Sophomores Adriana Callahan and Zoe Kinsella also had hits for the Wildcats.

"It wasn't because of lack of effort. or not fighting," Ferell added. "We made some mental and physical errors that kind of hurt us but I'm proud of our kids and the season they had. We've come a long way the last three years and I believe we can be right back here again next year if we are willing to put in the time and effort."

Barrington 8, Harlem 2:

Barrington improved to a 33-5 with an 8-2 win over Machesney Park Harlem (16-12) in the Class 4A Rockton Hononegah softball sectional.

Huntley (27-7) won the other semifinal 11-1 over Hampshire (13-16).

Fillies senior ace Allie Goodwin (21-5) struck out seven and did not give up an earned run.

Top hitters for the Mid-Suburban West champs were junior Emma Kavanagh (2-for-4, home run, 3 runs) and senior Ainsley Muno (2-for-3, RBI, 1 run).

The top-seeded Fillies will face No. 2 Huntley at 10 a.m. for the championship.

Maine South 4, Lane Tech 1:

Junior Jessica Hoffman fired a 1-hitter with 13 strikeouts and 1 walk as No. 4 Maine South posted a 4-1 win over top-seeded Lane Tech in the semifinal of the Whitney Young Class 4A softball sectional on Tuesday.

No. 2 Oak Park-River Forest defeated No. 3 Taft 6-0 in the second semifinal.

Maine South (17-7) will face Oak Park (28-7) on Friday for the title at 4:30 p.m.

The Hawks trailed 1-0 after one inning but scored 4 times in the top of the fifth inning.

"I know Jess had a lot of strikeouts but she used her defense and they definitely had her back," said Hawks coach Emmy Pasier.

The Hawks had 10 hits, led by senior Kailey Kowalski who had three.

Juniors Ryan Mullarkey and Ava Amelio each went 2 for 4 while Aubry Mazza came off the bench with a big double. Junior Charlotte Baumann connected for a 2-run single.

"We were down after the first inning but never gave up," Pasier added. "We were getting on base for a few innings but couldn't get one across. Then we strung a few together and scored the 4 runs."

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