St. Charles North has played a litany of top teams this season, so coach Tom Poulin’s assessment of Glenbard North was certainly well informed.
“They’re as good, if not better, than any team we’ve played,” Poulin said. “And they’re clicking right now. Top to bottom, they are tough to deal with.”
No surprise, then, that Glenbard North won 10-4 Tuesday over St. Charles North in a Class 4A Bartlett Sectional semifinal.
CeCe Dopart struck out 13 batters and the Panthers pounded out 14 hits off one of the top pitchers around in the North Stars’ Sabrina Rabin. Nine of those hits went for extra bases.
“That was by far our best offensive performance this year,” Glenbard North coach Josh Sanew said. “We wanted to come out and attack early and overall, we kept constant pressure on and got some runs.”
Dopart (24-4) struck out three in the top of the first before top-seeded Glenbard North (28-5) put up three runs in their half of the inning. Sarah Petzold doubled, Alex Caliva singled, and both scored on the first of three doubles from Heather Sperlazzo.
Kayla Quanstrum singled to bring Sperlazzo home. Sperlazzo and Petzold finished with four hits for the Panthers and Caliva had three hits against fourth-seeded St. Charles North (23-9).
“Getting that lead gave me some wiggle room,” Dopart said. “From there we wanted to stay strong and I had to keep hitting my spots.”
The Panthers scored three more in the second inning on hits from Sydney Benz, Stephanie Campos and a two-run double from Petzold.
St. Charles North scored twice in the third, with Rabin and Alex Millet getting hits in the inning, but Glenbard North struck for three more in the fourth to make it 9-2. Benz homered and Caliva doubled home two runs.
Caliva singled home another run in the sixth before St. Charles North scored twice in its final at-bats, with Rabin and Mickey Goetz singling and scoring on a Millet single.
Dopart then delivered strikeout No. 13 and got a pop-up to end the game.
“We got better as the game went on and we battled,” Poulin said. “I love all of our seniors and I don’t know if I have the words for (Rabin). She’s been as good as it gets for us and nothing but a joy to work with.”
The Northwestern-bound Rabin (16-7) leads a group of eight graduating seniors for the North Stars.
For Glenbard North, a third consecutive sectional title game awaits on Saturday, against Wednesday’s winner between No. 2 Conant and No. 3 St. Charles East.
“If feels good to get back there,” Dopart said. “We’ll come out strong and hopefully things will go our way.”