Sandburg edges out Lockport in pitchers’ duelLockport's #18 Amanda Oberc starting pitcher at the IHSA SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL game with Carl Sandburg held at Lockport and Lockport lost 1-0 on Wednesday June 1, 2011. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 1, 2011 9:16PM
That’s what the Lockport and Sandburg softball teams waged Wednesday. When it was over Sandburg and senior ace Lora Olson held on for a 1-0 win over the host Porters in a Class 4A Lockport Sectional semifinal.
It was the first postseason meeting between the two programs — which have combined to win 15 sectional titles and three state championships in the past 14 seasons — since a 2-1 Sandburg victory on the same field in the sectional semis in 2003.
The defending state champion Eagles (27-6) won for the 21st time in 23 games and will play the winner of today’s game between Andrew and Homewood-Floosmoor for the title at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Lockport finished 26-11-1.
“They are our rivals, and this was the last time I was going to play Lockport,” Olson said. “If we could have chosen any team to play, it would have been them.
“The intensity, you could just feel it out there. Both of us wanted to be the team on top.”
In the end it was the Eagles who advanced to the sectional title game for the 12th time in 13 years. But not without a scare in the top of the seventh. With two outs and none on, the Porters’ Ashley London hit a first-pitch single through the hole past short.
That was only the third hit and baserunner off Olson. Melissa Stoch then smashed a hard-hit ball that went off Jess Perkins glove at third. Shortstop Candice Koch picked it up and nearly threw Stoch out at first, but she was safe on Sandburg’s only error of the game.
Olson coaxed Tierney Bottino to hit a 1-and-1 pitch for a popup to Perkins, who came in a couple of steps and stood on the third-base line for the catch to end the game.
“Lexi (Bryant) called a great game,” said Olson of her catcher. “She called the right pitch on the last out. Every inning was intense, and one run was all it took. Our defense was solid.”
Olson (18-4) finished with a three-hitter, walking none and striking out eight. Both teams committed just one error, but the Porters’ proved costly.
That miscue came in the bottom of the first. Koch led off with a line single over short. She was sacrificed to second by Lizzie Wojtowicz. Lockport starter Amanda Oberc then got Bryant to ground to third, but third baseman Allison Foley threw the ball past first and Koch came home with the only run of the game.
“That was real big,” Koch said. “It was only one, but it brought us our momentum and we carried that the rest of the game.”
Oberc and Kelly Bowler, who entered to start the third, combined for a four-hitter with no walks and two strikeouts.
Briana Fanning, Kelly Sheridan and Wojtowicz had singles for Sandburg. Lia Romeo lined a two-out double down the right-field line for Lockport’s first hit in the fourth. Jessica Kubinski added a pinch hit, one-out single up the middle in the sixth, but was stranded at second as Olson ended both threats with strikeouts.