Softball: Down to last strike, Bartlett rallies to upend defending champ MolineThe Bartlett bench greets Kayla Haberstich at home plate after her 3 run homer against Moline at the Class 4A softball semifinals, Friday, June 8th, 2012 in East Peoria, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:53AM
EAST PEORIA — It’s been a wild ride for Bartlett during the Class 4A state playoffs.
Down to its last strike Friday against defending state champion Moline, the Hawks found a way to not only tie the game, but put up five runs in the top of the seventh for a come-from-behind 7-3 win.
A three-run home run by sophomore Kayla Haberstich capped the rally and propelled the Hawks to a berth in Saturday’s state final against Marist at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria.
“I thought I hit it but if Kaylyn [Zierke] didn’t get her hit to tie it and Alex [Morales] didn’t get her hit I wouldn’t have been able to get mine,” Haberstich said.
The Hawks (32-8) trailed 3-2 entering the seventh when pinch-hitter Steph Tomazin was hit by a pitch with one out. Then, after a strikeout and a walk to Andreana Taormina, Zierke singled to center on a 3-2 count to tie the game.
Morales (2-for-3) followed with an RBI single to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead before Haberstich launched a no-doubter to left-center to send her teammates and fans into a frenzy.
From there, pitcher Tori Burke retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh and the celebration started.
“Hitting has been huge all year,” Burke said. “For our sophomore to step up, that really shows our depth.”
Maroons shortstop Brittny Drish was the star early, hitting two home runs in her first two at bats. Her solo shot in the first started the scoring, before she smashed a two-run drive in the third that gave her team a 3-0 lead.
Zierke (2-for-3, 3 RBI) pulled her team within one on a two-run double that scored Tomazin (single) and Taormina (walk).
“We just beat the second-best hitting team in the state,” Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said.
The best hitting team? “You seen the scoreboard,” Wolfsmith said.
The Hawks have never played in a softball state title game. The Maroons (30-11) were seeking their seventh state title.
Holly Pagan was 3-for-4 but did not figure in the scoring. Jordon de los Reyes had a double for the Maroons.