Glenbard North edges out RedhawksNaperville Central's Maddi Doane makes a play against visiting Glenbard North. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 18, 2011 10:10PM
The race for the DuPage Valley Conference softball title just got a little more interesting.
Moments after Glenbard North beat Naperville Central, 4-3, in eight innings in Naperville, word got around quickly that Naperville North beat West Chicago, 9-0.
That means West Chicago is now 10-3 in the DVC with one more conference game left to play against Wheaton Warrenville South. Both Glenbard North and Naperville Central ended league play at 10-4. If the Wildcats — last year’s champs — beat the Tigers, they win the conference outright. If they lose, there will be a three-way tie for the title.
“(The title race) is coming down right to the end, just like last year,” Glenbard North coach Josh Sanew said. “But it’s fun. It’s good for the conference.”
This was Naperville Central’s second loss in as many games in extra innings. The Redhawks fell victim to West Chicago 1-0 in nine innings Monday.
With the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the eighth, Glenbard North’s Sydney Benz hit a single and moved to second on another single from Alyssa Jasinski. Benz scored on a two-out RBI single from the hot-hitting bat of pitcher Lilly Fecho.
The Redhawks had a great chance in the bottom of the inning when Keegan Hayes led off with a single. Her pinch-runner, Kayla Skinner, got to second on a Katie Walker sacrifice bunt. With one out, Alyssa Wunderlich hit the ball right at Fecho, who quickly turned around and threw the ball to second base, where Skinner was off the bag and was tagged out to end it.
“It’s disappointing,” Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum said. “There were things we did really well and other things we didn’t do really well. Major mistakes and lack of execution.”
Naperville Central (20-9, 10-4) tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Laura Dierking led off with a single and moved to second on a Nicole Kappelman single in the next at-bat. Dierking went to third and Kappelman second on a wild pitch. An out later, Glenbard North attempted to intentionally walk Kelsey Gonzalez, but one of the pitches in the process went wild and Dierking slapped home plate safely.
Kappelman moved to third on the wild pitch, Gonzalez was eventually walked and the next batter, Meghan Griffin, was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded with one out.
As Maddi Doane struck out for the second out, Kappelman headed for home on what was first thought of as a dropped third strike.
Glenbard North’s catcher, Alexis Simone, quickly recovered the ball and tagged Kappelman for the third out of the inning.
Earlier, Glenbard North (18-4, 10-4) scored first in the first on Jasinski’s sacrifice fly. Naperville Central came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a Glenbard North error that allowed Gonzalez (who singled) and Griffin (who was hit by a pitch) to score. The Panthers got the lead in the fourth on Fecho’s two-run home run to right field. Both teams finished with seven hits.
Wunderlich, the Redhawks’ pitcher, finished with 11 strikeouts. Fecho finished with three of the Panthers’ seven hits.
“It’s exciting to come out here and face a good pitcher,” Fecho said.