Softball: Benet thwarts Oswego East upset bid with eight-run sixthOswego East's Brittany Warnecke bats an RBI single against Benet Academy during the Class 4A Plainfield South regional at Plainfield South High School in Plainfield, Ill., on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 22, 2012 8:40PM
If you look at the final score of top-seeded Benet’s Class 4A Plainfield South Regional semifinal win over 16th-seeded Oswego East, it may appear that the Redwings cruised to yet another win.
The final line of 12-5 makes that an easy assumption.
But Benet was given a stern test in its playoff opener, trailing 5-4 before an eight-run sixth bailed the Redwings out and sent them to Saturday morning’s regional title game.
“You have to give it to Oswego East,” Benet coach Jerry Schilf said. “They deserved to win. We only won one inning, but that’s the one that matters. You think about everything you’ve done all year long, how well you played in conference. (Oswego East) deserved a better fate, but we didn’t want to lose.”
Oswego East (10-23) took a 5-4 lead in bizarre fashion in the third inning. The Wolves scored three unearned runs in the first inning on a pair of uncharacteristic errors from Benet (32-4). Then in the third, Brittany Warnecke and Molly Talaska scored the tying and leading runs after Benet pitcher Molly Moran was repeatedly called for an illegal pitch.
The umpire ruled that her non-pivot foot was landing outside of the lane in front of the pitching rubber, and he called it numerous times, enough that two runs scored on the ruling.
“It’s a judgement call,” Schilf said. “The way I’m looking at it, she was in the lane. It’s just really hard. We understand the umpires are going to call it tight in the playoffs, but that’s the way it should have been called all year.”
To her credit, Moran (31-4) settled down after that inning and held the Wolves scoreless the rest of the way, which gave the Redwings’ prolific offense a chance to come back.
Oswego East pitcher Alex Wagner retired the first batter of the inning and nearly retired the next hitter, lead-off batter Maeve McGuire. Her foul pop down the left field line fell just out of the reach of Warnecke, keeping her at-bat alive. McGuire eventually drew a walk, which led to the eight-run inning that rescued Benet’s season.
RBI singles from Kendall Duffy, Steph Abello and Jessica Brown, an RBI double from Emily York and a two-run double to cap the inning from McGuire helped provide the eight crucial runs as 11 Redwings came to the plate.
“It wasn’t completely normal, but we stuck with it and kept it going,” said Benet’s Marissa Panko, who tripled twice and drove in three runs earlier in the game. “We need to be ready for every single game. We need to play our best every single game, becuase when we fall asleep, that’s when it will bite us.”
Oswego East came in as clear underdogs, and the Wolves did just about everything they could do to spring the massive upset.
“I sent a note to the girls today and I said we’re going to shock the world of softball today, and I really firmly believed that,” Oswego East assistant coach Patrick Molinari said. “We had a game plan going in there. We did it to the best of our abilities. It’s just unfortunate that it worked out the way it did.”