Softball: Andrew tops Lincoln-Way North to clinch SouthWest Suburban Red
Updated: May 15, 2012 7:13PM
Two fences separate Andrew’s softball field from the school’s parking lot.
Since her freshman year, it’s been senior Katie Christner’s goal to clear both of them with a home run. Tuesday, in the Thunderbolts’ SouthWest Suburban Red-clinching 11-10 victory over Lincoln-Way North, she finally did it.
And wouldn’t you know, she didn’t see it.
“I thought it was going to be a home run, but I didn’t know it was going over (the second) fence,” Christner said. “Then when I got back to the dugout everybody was like, ‘Hey, Katie, you achieved your goal.’ I was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t know what was going on.”
Much more than that went on in a wild contest that saw Andrew build as much as an 11-4 lead, only to see the Phoenix rise in a six-run sixth inning.
Battered about, but unshaken, T-bolts senior Brooke Hofer went back to the circle and retired the side in order in the seventh to preserve the win.
Meanwhile, the Christner sisters, Katie and Kelly, took away a whole lot to remember from their final regular-season home conference game as high school teammates.
Wisconsin-bound Katie was 3-for-3 with two home runs, seven RBI and two runs. Kelly, a junior committed to Michigan, was 3-for-3 with two doubles and three runs.
“When we came out at the beginning of the game we were both kind of sad,” Kelly Christner said. “We realized that this was one of our last regular-season games together for high school. So we wanted to come out and play strong for each other.”
Jill Galich put North (19-8, 10-3) ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning with a two-run home run. Katie Christner responded for Andrew (28-4, 13-0) in the bottom of the frame with a prodigious grand slam over the two fences in left field.
Hofer settled down after that to blank the Phoenix over the next three innings, but Andrew kept hitting.
Dani Bestwina’s double keyed a two-run second. Bestwina then tripled, Kelly Christner doubled and Katie Christner socked a line drive two-run homer to make it 9-2 after four.
Both teams scored twice in the fifth, before North batted around in the sixth, the biggest blow a two-run home run by Kelsi Dilger that made it 11-10.
Hofer somehow kept her composure.
“I just went in the dugout, took a deep breath and realized that we were going to be fine,” Hofer said. “I knew I was going to recover from that sixth inning.
“Being back-to-back-to-back conference champs was a good goal of ours. Hopefully Thursday (against Thornridge) we’ll finish undefeated.”