Softball playoff previews: Montini poised to win program’s first sectional title
Willowbrook, Glenbard East, Addison Trail hoping to pull early upsets
Sectional seed: No. 1
Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday vs. Westinghouse or Payton
What to watch: The Broncos have an excellent opportunity to win the first sectional title in school history after receiving the top seed in the Elmwood Park sectional.
Montini earned the spot with a dominant offense and solid pitching throughout the season. The Broncos hit more than .400 as a team and top pitcher Lauren Trojnar had a 2.43 ERA as of Tuesday.
Leading hitters Isabell Alexander (.583 average, 47 runs scored), Shaylee Lewis (.523, 38 RBIs), Trojnar (.476, 31 runs) and Alyssa Sclafani (.456, nine HR, 43 RBIs) have all been part of Montini’s prolific offense.
The Broncos shouldn’t have much trouble getting out of the regional. No. 8 seed Wheaton Academy is the next highest seed in the regional and Montini beat that team, 19-3, on April 16.
No. 2 Elmwood Park, No. 3 St. Francis and No. 4 Fenwick could pose threats. St. Francis split two games with the Broncos in the regular season.
Sectional seed: No. 16
Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Monday at Glenbard East vs. Batavia
What to watch: The Rams have been unable to truly get going this season. As a result, they received the No. 16 seed in the deep Neuqua Valley sectional.
East opens up against No. 17 Batavia and will host the regional quarterfinal game. If they win they will head to Batavia for a matchup with top-seed Naperville Central, which was undefeated until Saturday.
The Rams lost to Central 14-0 and 8-0 in two DuPage Valley Conference losses earlier this season.
Megan Cotterill and Brittany Plimmer have been the offensive standouts for East. Both have averages of more than .300. On the pitching side, Grace Miller and Kara Tadda have split time in the circle.
Sectional seed: No. 12
Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bartlett
What to watch: The Blazers have hit a wall in the second half of the season, but still have showed improvement from last year.
First-year coach Mark Olson has been a part of the turnaround. He noted that its simply progress for AT to not be playing in a regional quarterfinal.
Instead, the Blazers are facing No. 5 seed and regional host Bartlett in a semifinal.
“We’re growing,” Olson said. “The girls are playing pretty well. I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Sectional seed: No. 12
Regional: Downers Grove North
Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. Oswego East
What to watch: A midseason slump saw the Warriors drop to 8-7, but lately Willowbrook has played more like the team that entered the season with high expectations.
A late-season run vaulted the Warriors into second in the West Suburban Gold after starting 1-2 in league play. Darian Pelsor has found a groove in the circle to boost Willowbrook.
The bad news is that the Warriors are in arguably the toughest sectional in Class 4A. For reference, Gold-champion Downers Grove South is the No. 9 seed.
Willowbrook opens the postseason with a regional semifinal against No. 6 Oswego East. Silver-champ Downers Grove North, the No. 3 seed and host of the regional at Doerhoefer Park, is armed with dominant pitcher and UIC-recruit Elaine Heflin is the favorite in the regional.