Softball: Powerful Marist knocks off Barrington again
PEORIA -- Three hours away from its own softball backyard, Barrington had one primary objective Friday night -- keep homer-happy Chicago Marist in the yard.
But even as the Fillies kept the fence-busting, record-setting Redhawks from going deep for the most part, shutting them down was another matter.
Marist sprayed 12 hits in all and parlayed a five-run second inning into an eventual 10-0, 5-inning romp in a Class 4A state softball semifinal at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex.
Riding a 25-game winning streak, Marist (36-2) returns to the state championship game for the third consecutive year at 3 p.m. Saturday against Yorkville (36-2).
Barrington (35-6), meanwhile, faces Oak Park-River Forest (30-8) for third place at 1 p.m.
"It just imploded on us early," admitted 32-year veteran Barrington coach Perry Peterson. "They're (Marist) a great team and we respect their play, but we were kind of embarrassed today."
After two quick first inning outs, Marist seized a 2-0 lead against Barrington ace and Princeton recruit Allie Goodwin (23-6) when Isabel Cunnea drew a four-pitch walk followed by Eileen Donahue's run-scoring double and Cam Lyons' RBI single.
The gap swelled to 7-0 in the second on Caroline O'Brien's one-out, two-run single, Maia Pietrzak's RBI single, and Cunnea's two-run blast, her 23rd of the season.
"Too much, too early," Peterson said. "We thought we could be competitive with them, but it just got away."
It was more than enough for Marist pitcher Gianna Hillegonds (26-1), who tossed a one-hitter and struck out four while walking one.
Marist blasted Barrington 16-1 back on April 8 to leave the Fillies 3-3 at the time, but the Mid-Suburban League champions responded by going 32-2 heading into Friday's rematch.
"I didn't feel great (about a rematch) because I know Barrington is an awesome team," Marist coach Colleen Phelan said about the third state meeting between the rivals in seven years. "But we really don't worry about who is in the other dugout. We just want to go out and play our game."
The Redhawks finished the run-rule romp with a three-run fourth on a pair of walks, Donahue's RBI single and Lyons' two-run double to cap a 3-for-3 day.
"It wasn't our day," Peterson offered. "But it's just one day and these kids are competitors."
"This is our best team hitting-wise, power-wise, by far," Phelan added.
"We have 14 returnees (from three straight state title game appearances) and all 14 girls are still hungry."
SHORT HOPS: Friday's contest was a rematch of last June's 4A state semifinal, where Marist prevailed 6-5 en route to a one-run title game loss to St. Charles North ... Led by the 1-2 power punch of Cunnea (23 homers) and Gabriella Novickas (18), Marist's current team home run total of 93 and counting is a single-season IHSA record, smashing the old mark of 78 set by Barrington in 2022 ... Peterson (943) is currently third on the IHSA all-time list for career coaching wins behind retirees Randy Wolken (1044) of St. Joseph-Ogden and Ken Grams (990) of Elk Grove Village ... Marist is making its seventh Final Four appearance in 12 years, including three state titles (2012, 2015, 2021) ... Barrington has nine Final Four trips since 2004, including back-to-back state runner-up finishes in 2007-08. ... Marist entered Friday's contest averaging 10.6 runs per game, scoring in double digits 23 times while scoring less than five runs in only three games ... Barrington is no offensive slouch, either, averaging 9.8 runs per contest.