Hot hitting keeps Benet rollingMaeve McGuire (18) of Benet Academy belts a double over the Downers Grove South center fielder's head. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 4, 2011 10:06PM
About the only thing that would cool off the Benet softball team now is the cooler of ice water that was dumped on coach Jerry Schilf after the Redwings won the Class 4A Oswego East sectional final title against Downers Grove South Saturday.
The No. 5 seeded and red-hot Benet posted 11 hits and pitcher Allyson Staats allowed just three in the 5-0 win over No. 2 seed Downers Grove South. The win advanced the Redwings (29-10) to the Hinsdale South Supersectional game against Richards Monday at 4:30 p.m. The Bulldogs beat Mother McAuley, 1-0, for the Morton sectional title.
The last time Benet played in a supersectional game was in 2005. The last time these two teams met in the sectional final game was 2006, when Downers Grove won 1-0.
“The kids are confident now they can play with anybody,” Schilf said. “Not in my wildest dreams did I think we were going to beat them 5-0. You just never know. Every single girl contributed...I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Not only did the Redwings win, they set the IHSA team record in doubles with 108 (106 was the previous record). Sophomore Maeve McGuire also set a Benet record in doubles with 24.
“Maeve is a great player,” Staats said. “She is just going to get better and better.”
McGuire scored four of Benet’s five runs. The leadoff hitter set the tone with the very first pitch of the game, when she was hit. She ended up scoring in the first on an RBI double by Staats. The Benet pitcher’s pinch runner, Tracy Griffin, reached home on an RBI walk drawn from Shellie Schaffer. Benet, however, did leave the bases loaded.
“That first inning was rough for us and set the tone a little bit, but we got out of it,” Downers Grove South coach Ron Havelka said. “It could have been worse.”
In the second inning, McGuire doubled with one out and moved to third on a Kendall Duffy single. Then she scored on a Staats ground out.
In the fourth McGuire led the inning off with a single and was pushed to second on a Duffy sacrifice bunt. That set the stage for another RBI double from Staats.
The fifth and final run was manufactured when McGuire hit a one-out double in the sixth. She advanced to third on a Duffy single. As Duffy rounded toward second, McGuire scored.
Staats improved to 27-9 after she struck out two, allowed three walks and got out of a fifth-inning jam, when Downers Grove South led off with a single by Jackie Tonoff followed by a Kristina Airdo double. The Mustangs ended up leaving seven stranded on base.
“Bottom line is (Staats) shut us down,” Havelka said. “You have to give credit to the other team when they can do something like that.”
Downers Grove South capped the 2011 campaign 28-7 overall. Senior leadoff batter and Wisconsin-bound Marissa Mersch finished her career with 250 hits — two shy of the career hit record in Illinois.
“It was a great year,” Havelka said. “If you look back at it...the kids really came on. At one time, we were 6-4 and ended up winning 22 of our last 25 games, so I can’t complain about that. That’s a great run.”