Softball: Providence edges Tinley Park in seventh inningSarah Gillespie throws a strike against Providence in the IHSA Sectional semi-final. Allen Cunningham~for Sun-Times Media.
Updated: May 30, 2012 7:44PM
As one of two seniors on Providence, pitcher Allie Strick figured she had to “lay it all out.”
She certainly did, escaping a big jam in the top of the seventh and then watching her team score the winning run in the bottom of the inning for a 2-1 win Wednesday over Tinley Park in a Class 3A Providence Sectional semifinal.
The Celtics (26-12) will play the winner of Thursday’s Kankakee-Oak Forest game for the title at 11 a.m. Saturday. Tinley Park finishes at 24-11.
With the game tied at 1, Tinley Park loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh. Strick (17-4), who walked two and allowed three hits, battled back and registered her 12th strikeout for the first out. She then coaxed a comebacker for a force at the plate. Kaitlyn Sebastian tried to bunt, but Strick charged to make a diving catch for the third out.
“I was super-shocked they bunted,” Strick said. “But I’m a senior, I’ve got to lay it all out. I didn’t think of diving; it just happened. But that shifted the momentum.”
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Morgan Greenwood doubled to left- center, one of four hits off Sarah Gillespie. After a walk, Jessica Jatis jolted a line drive to center. Sebastian went back and had the ball glance off her glove.
Pinch-runner Meghan Martin was waved home as Sebastian relayed the ball to shortstop Amber Buss. The throw home beat Martin, but the ball squirted free from catcher Danielle Garcia.
“Their shortstop has a cannon, but I had to send her,” Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “We got a bad jump on it, because Meghan was going back to second, so we were fortunate she dropped the ball.”
Each team had scored an unearned run in the first.
“It was definitely a tough one,” Tinley Park coach Wendy Podbielniak said. “But we had the bases loaded and no outs. We have to score, end of story.”