Softball: Defending champ Marengo edges Grayslake North

Story Image DeKalb, IL 6/5/12 Grayslake North's softball season came to an end Tuesday evening in DeKalb after loosing to defending state champs Marengo 2-1. Grayslake's Kristie Gandy (24) pitches in the first inning. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: June 6, 2012 4:06PM

Marengo junior Stephanie Cartwright crushed a two-run double with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the fifth, and ace pitcher Lindsay Melson did the rest as the Indians edged Grayslake North 2-1 Tuesday in a Class 3A supersectional at Northern Illinois University.

The Indians (35-5) will continue their quest for a second straight state title when they face Providence (28-12) at 9:30 a.m. in Friday’s state semifinals in East Peoria.

Grayslake North, which was playing in the Round of 8 for the first time in the school’s six-year history, finished 25-9-1.

Cartwright’s blast to right field grazed off the glove of Megan Mertins on the warning track. If it had been caught, the tying run would have tagged at third and scored.

“It was a weird play,” Mertins said. “When I turned to run, I lost sight of the ball. It touched right at the end of my glove.”

Melson, who will pitch at Illinois-Chicago next year, allowed one hit and fanned 14. After Marengo took the lead, Grayslake North did not get the tying run on base.

“A one-run game is what it should be at this time of year. We have great teams still playing and that’s what you expect … a close game,” Marengo coach Dwain Nance said. “I think our scheduling paid off today. We’ve been in these type of games a lot. Offensively, we’re not a power-hitting team. We have to scrap out a couple runs here and there. Thank God Stephanie Cartwright came through with a big hit when she did.

Grayslake North got its run in the fourth on a walk, a passed ball, and a two-out single by Jessica Davis.

“Our goal is to win the state championship. We’re just one step closer,” Nance said. “We’ll take it in stride and start scouting Providence tomorrow, head down there Thursday, and get ready to play on Friday.”

In its final two tourney games — including a sectional final win over Prairie Ridge, Grayslake North batters fanned 29 times in 13 innings.

Still, Knights coach Molly Jones was thrilled with the season.

“I’m really happy with the way the season turned out. Winning regionals and sectionals and getting to the supersectional in this field is a huge accomplishment,” Jones said. “We set our goals high, and we fell a little bit short. We set a lot of records with this group. There’s a lot to celebrate.”

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