Softball: Sandburg earns split with defending champ Moline
Updated: March 17, 2012 4:54PM
Sandburg coach Jim Fabianski said he had trouble sleeping all week heading into his team’s opener against defending Class 4A champion Moline Saturday afternoon in Orland Park.
The No. 25 Eagles return just two starters from last season, which ended in a supersectional loss to the Maroons. But the 2010 state-champion Eagles have always had pedigree on their side, despite the lack of experience coming back.
“That’s a credit to all of the past coaches,” Fabianski said.
Fabianski was feeling alive and well after Game 1, when his team pulled out a come-from-behind 3-2 win. They fell 7-5 in Game 2 in which both teams pulled their No. 1 pitchers and a small amount of position players.
“They were both varsity games and it was just a long day,” said Fabianski, who wasn’t buying into that either game was a more accurate reading of either team than the other. “I am very pleased. This was fun; I think we are going to have a great year. We really have a great group of kids.
In Game 1, Eagles senior Amanda Barna got the win, going the distance, striking out eight, walking one and giving up just five hits against a very potent Maroons lineup that returned six position players from last season.
Junior Ellie Forkin brought in all three runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh on a bloop single to right off junior starter Kelsey Reed. That scored junior Candice Koch, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning.
The Maroons (1-2) led 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth when Forkin hit a sacrifice fly that scored Koch, who reached on an error. Forkin had five hits on the day while Koch scored four runs and added a home run, two hits and a pair of RBIs in the nightcap.
“I think everyone is going to underestimate us and I think we know that and understand that,” Forkin said. “The passion on this team is amazing this year.”
Sophomore Sarah Herold got the call in the circle in Game 2 for the Eagles (1-1) and was relieved in the sixth by fellow southpaw Jessie Pesavento. With the game tied 4-4 in the sixth the Maroons put up a four-spot to take control of the game.
Jenna Winthurst (three hits, two RBI) and Jordan Meyers (four hits, two RBI) each homered for the Maroons earlier in the game while Emily Rasche (two hits in Game 2) provided the big blow in the sixth with a two-run double. Brittny Drish added a pair of hits, including a double and an RBI in Game 2.
Barna and Brooke Heimerl each had two hits on the day for the Eagles.
“I wasn’t real happy in that first game, I think we are a lot better hitters than that,” Moline coach Mark Gerlach said. “I told them I don’t remember that many called strikeouts (five) since I’ve been coaching. We seemed to bounce back in the second game.
“I think by the end of the year we will be good and so will Sandburg. This was good for both of us.”