Record-setting finish for third-place BenetBenet's coach Jerry Schilf instructs his players during Saturday's third-place game against New Trier. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 13, 2011 10:54AM
EAST PEORIA — Benet’s best finish in school history had sort of a surreal feel to it.
The Redwings rapped out 14 hits and pitcher Allyson Staats set a school record for most wins in a season as Benet beat New Trier 7-4 in the Class 4A third-place game Saturday evening at EastSide Centre.
“At the beginning of the season it was our goal to get here,” Staats said. “But even when we got here, it felt unreal. But I think as a team we’re leaving an imprint on school history.”
With a 31-11 final record, which ties the school mark for most wins in a season, the Redwings certainly did that. Staats had almost all of them, going 29-10 and finishing with a new school mark for most wins in a season.
“I didn’t even think about it,” said Staats of her 29th win. “Afterward in the trophy line someone was like, ‘Didn’t you break the school record, and I was like ‘Oh yeah.’ ’’
Staats settled in after giving up single runs in the first three innings. But Benet got the bats going and scored four runs in the top of the third.
The first seven Redwings batters had made outs, but freshman shortstop Marissa Panko (2-for-4, two runs) and sophomore left fielder Ali Michalik (3-for-4, two runs RBI) got things started with back-to back singles.
Maeve McGuire, who went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the leadoff spot, loaded the bases with an infield hit. Kendall Duffy (3-for-4) followed with an RBI single and Staats smacked a two-run single to center for the Redwings’ fifth consecutive hit, which put them ahead for good at 3-2. Julianne Rurka added an RBI fielder’s choice grounder in the inning.
“The bottom of the order really came through,” Staats said. “It really was incredible. Once we got on a roll, we just kept going and didn’t stop.”
New Trier (23-13), which finished fourth in the state for the third time in the last six seasons, cut the lead to 4-3 on a one-out RBI single by sophomore Ryan Lee in the bottom of the third. But Staats came back with two straight strikeouts to end the inning.
That began a stretch of 12-of-13 retired by the senior right-hander. The only Trevians to reach base after the third were senior Chelsea Delaney, who clubbed a solo homer way out to left with two outs in the fifth, and junior second baseman Jackie Stern (2-for-3), who walked with one out in the seventh.
But Stern was doubled off first when losing pitcher Brigit Ieuter lined into a game-ending double play.
Staats allowed six hits, walked three and struck out six.
The Redwings added two runs in the fourth on a two-run single by McGuire, and a run in the seventh on an RBI single from Michalik.
Rurka and Michalik each had a double for the Redwings, who finished the season with a new state record 114 doubles. The 14 hits was a new Class 4A record for most hits in a game.
“We got 14 hits in a state tournament game and you have to believe that doesn’t happen very often,” Benet coach Jerry Schilf said. “We feel behind and the team told itself, it’s not a meaningless game and came back strong.
“Everyone wants to go out a winner and we had six seniors that went out as winners.”
The Trevians scored a run in the first on an RBI single by Leah Herlocker and added a run in the second on an RBI single from Mimi Morris. Ieuter (17-9) went the distance, allowing the 14 hits while walking two and striking out six.
“We started really well,” New Trier coach John Cadwell said. “The kids got into it right away and were ready to play. But Benet found the holes and just put the ball where we couldn’t get it.”
Still it was a final four finish for the Trevians, who started the season 0-4 and 2-6 before righting the ship.
“I got to come here as a freshman and that was a great experience,” Delaney said. “But this was my senior year and it was just great to experience this again and I got to take it all in.
“Even though we lost it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”