Glenbard North produced the fireworks Saturday, but St. Charles East staged the postgame celebration.
The Saints sacrificed, singled, scrapped and played defense in the face of a couple prodigious Glenbard North home runs, rallying from 2-0 and 5-2 deficits to capture their own Class 4A sectional title 7-6.
“Our team definitely has a lot of speed and we’re more like one base at a time — we love the bases,” Saints DH Sarah Collalti said. “We’ll keep getting the base hits to get the runs slow and steady.
“I’m hoping on Monday we can do exactly the same thing as we did today and just keep it going.”
Monday the Saints will face Downers Grove South in a supersectional at The Ballpark in Rosemont, and Collalti is a major reason they advanced past the sectional round for the second time and first since 1994. Her two-out, three-run double behind the outfielders in left-center capped a five-run comeback in the fifth and turned a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 edge.
“She and Shelby (Holtz) probably consistently have the best at-bats on our team,” St. Charles East coach Kelly Horan said. “They’ll see a lot of pitches and they’ll really make good decisions on which pitches to swing at.”
The Saints (29-4) battled back from a 2-0 deficit against losing pitcher Lindsey Cherry with Tess Hupe’s RBI double in the third and a sacrifice fly by Collalti in the fourth. The latter drove in Katie Kolb, who singled and moved up on an error and Kate Peterburs’ sacrifice.
Then Glenbard North’s Ashley Stiver (2-for-4, 2 RBI) countered by smashing a line-drive, first-pitch homer to left leading off the fifth against winning pitcher Haley Beno. The Panthers followed with two more runs that inning on Amanda Manton’s RBI single and an RBI double from Rucha Amin for a 5-2 lead.
Glenbard North’s offense produced 13 hits, including two doubles to the fence and two home runs.
“I came in and knew that if I didn’t hit my spots they were just going to shell me,” said Haley Beno (20-3), who walked three and struck out one.
But the Saints came back with Holtz’s single to start the bottom of the fifth, a bunt single by Lexi Perez and another bunt single by Hupe (3-for-4). Olivia Lorenzini was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for a run, and with two outs, Cherry (18-5) also hit Peterburs with a pitch to score another run. Collalti followed with her go-ahead double.
The Saints had eight hits — two doubles — and five of their hits came in the fifth off Cherry (five strikeouts, fourwalks).
“The one inning was our hiccup and it, unfortunately, ended our season,” Panthers coach Josh Sanew said.
Glenbard North (26-5) did get a leadoff, first-pitch home run from Sarah Petzold in the seventh to pull within 7-6. The Panthers put another runner on with one out, but
Beno got the final two on infield grounders to ignite the Saints’ celebration.
“The kids just didn’t back down … did not back down … and it’s pretty gosh darn exciting,” Horan said.