Benet falls on Moline homerBenet's Mikayla Panko (right) watches teammate Ali Michalik make a catch against Moline. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 10, 2011 9:09PM
EAST PEORIA--Benet’s players and coaches realized that if they had any chance in upsetting Moline they had to neutralize its best player, sophomore third baseman Jordan de los Reyes.
“You saw, there’s a reason we walked her [in the fifth with a runner on],” centerfielder Mikayla Panko said.
“I don’t like it when teams pitch around me,” Reyes said.
Moments after, the Redwings rode the heroics of Mikayla and Marissa Panko to tie the game, Reyes ended any hope of a Benet comeback by smashing a two-run home run in the top of the seventh that carried the Maroons to the 5-3 Class 4A semifinal victory Friday in EastSide Centre.
“My kids played hard,” Benet coach Jerry Schilf said. “Sometimes you just have to credit the other kid. She made a great play.”
Moline ace Jordan Kasbohm struck out seven and scattered six hits and walked two in running her record to 25-5.
“She’s pretty fast and tough to hit,” Mikayla Panko said.
Benet star Allyson Staats (28-10) suffered the loss. She struck out two, surrendered two walks and gave up 10 hits. The Redwings (31-10) drop to the third-place game Saturday against New Trier.
Freshman Marissa Panko (2-for-3) drilled an opposite field double that scored Julianne Rurka for the 1-0 Benet lead in the bottom of the second.
Moline (28-7-1) responded with a fluke play in its half of the third. Second baseman Lindsey Nelson hit an opposite field blooper into left field that took a sidelong bounce and eluded the grasp of Benet left fielder Ali Michalik that allowed a second Maroon to score for the 2-1 advantage.
Nelson added her third RBI with a perfectly drawn suicide squeeze in the fifth inning.
Things appeared pretty bleak as the Redwings could not solve Kasbohm, recording just three hits through the first five innings. Benet finally pounced on a vulnerable moment after she walked second baseman Shellie Schaffer with two outs in the fifth inning.
After nearly injuring herself, Mikayla Panko fouled off several balls before lacing a line drive into center. Marissa Panko delivered again with a second opposite field double that scored pinch runner Tracy Griffin. Mikayla Panko advanced to third. She eventually tied the game on Michalik’s infield hit.
The two Pankos, the seventh and eighth hitters, respectively, stepped up for the Redwings. “We talked before about the top half of the line up has carried us the whole year, and it was time for us to make plays and create offense,” Marissa Panko said.
In a moment’s notice, Reyes snatched the momentum back. Kasbohm retired the Redwings in order in the bottom of the seventh.