Softball: Barrington capitalizes on unusual play, beats Huntley in sectional final

Caught in a rundown in the top of the fifth inning, Barrington freshman Nina Brebach ran back and forth between the bases five times before diving head first and stretching out for home plate.

At that time in the rundown, Huntley third baseman Christina Smith was a step in front of home plate on the third-base side, waiting for a throw from catcher Madison Rozanski. Smith grabbed the ball and in one motion reached down and tagged Brebach for the second out.

But the play didn't end there.

Barrington coach Perry Peterson argued Brebach had nowhere to go, at which time the umpires got together. After talking it over, the umps ruled obstruction against the Red Raiders and rewarded Brebach with the game-tying run.

Nikki Vojack advanced to third on the play, and Mimi Cline, who hit a slow ground ball that started the rundown, went to second. The next batter, Allie Goodwin, hit a sacrifice fly to center field, giving the Fillies their first lead.

Huntley was unable to recover.

Barrington scored four runs in the seventh and earned a 7-2 win in the Class 4A Hononegah sectional final, giving the Fillies their third straight sectional title - and second in a row over Huntley. The Fillies (34-5) advance to meet Warren in the Barrington supersectional at 7 p.m. Monday.

Huntley, the Fox Valley Conference champion for the third year in a row, finished 27-8 with eight straight regional titles.

"I saw a freshman that never gave up," Peterson said of Brebach's journey on the bases. "She's an elite runner and a fast kid. She was dead and hung up. She kept running back and forth and didn't give up, and it just bounced our way.

"That's a difficult play to call. I saw what the umpire's saw, and that's what was decided."

Huntley coach Mark Petryniec didn't see it the same way.

"What I tell the girls is you can only control your controllables, and the call was out of our control," Petryniec said. "Obviously, it was probably something that did have an effect on the game. It's unfortunate in a game of this size. You just hope the game is played on the field."

Brebach said she had no intention of being in a rundown for so long. The freshman had a scrape at the bridge of her nose after the game.

"I was just trying to get out of it as quickly as possible," said Brebach, pinch-running for Lena Dycus, who got on base with a single. "I know [Huntley] is full of a lot of great players, so I knew I wouldn't be able to get out of it quick enough."

After giving up two runs (one earned) in the bottom of the first on three hits, Goodwin allowed only three hits the rest of the way. The Princeton commit had five strikeouts and three walks in the complete game.

Goodwin wasn't working with her normal catcher, junior Emma Kavanagh, who traveled with the team but had to go to the hospital before the game started because of food poisoning. Senior first baseman Ainsley Muno filled in for Kavanagh at catcher. Barrington coaches called pitches for the first five innings, then Goodwin and Muno took over for the final two.

"It was a shock and not the best news to hear," Goodwin said. "We all love Emma and want her to get better, and I trust Ainsley behind the plate. She's another one of my favorite catchers to throw to. I was focusing on getting the win, so Emma can be back with us [on Monday]."

Huntley scored both if its runs in the bottom of the first after Katie Mitchell led off with an infield single. After a sacrifice bunt by Sadie Svendsen, Clara Hudgens drove in Mitchell with a hit between third and short. Meg Ryan then had a double, and the Raiders added their second run when Ava McFadden ripped a hard shot to Vojack at shortstop that she couldn't handle.

Muno hit a solo homer in the fourth to cut Huntley's lead to 2-1.

After taking the lead in the fifth, the Fillies scored four runs on five hits in the seventh.

With the bases loaded, Lexi Thomas hit a high fly ball in the infield that dropped in and scored a run with one out. Huntley coaches argued the infield-fly rule should have been in effect, but the play stood.

Barrington scored two more runs after that.

For the Fillies, Thomas was 2 for 4 with an RBI, Reese Cullen was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs and Vojack (two runs) and Dycus each had two hits. Hannah Fors added an RBI.

For Huntley, Hudgens was 3 for 3 with a double. Senior pitcher Juliana Maude allowed seven runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

Huntley loses six seniors to graduation: Mitchell, Hudgens, Maude, Madi Smith, Alyssa Roos and Alyssa Ekstrom.

"I'm going to miss this group of seniors who finished third at state [in 2021], and of course had the [2019] season canceled by COVID," Petryniec said. "These kids have been through a lot of adversity, more than children should have to be. They represented the program so well and I couldn't be more proud to have the opportunity to coach them."

"It was a great game, and hopefully we gave the people the show they wanted to see. Proud of all my girls today."

Mitchell, who will play at Loyola, and Hudgens, who is undecided after undergoing ACL surgery that slowed down her recruiting process, reflected on their time at Huntley after their final high school game.

"This program means the absolute world to me," Mitchell said. "All the coaches, my teammates that I've had and the ones I met this year. They're all my best friends and I can't wait to come back and watch them play next year."

"They have experience with these types of big games now, and they how to punch back," Hudgens added. "I think they're going to do great."

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