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Concerns arise as Panthers advance to regional final

SCHAUMBURG – At this point in the season, Glenbard North will take a win any way it can get it.

But that doesn’t mean Panthers softball coach Josh Sanew has to be happy with how his team played in its playoff opener.

Jumping out to a 7-1 advantage Tuesday in the team’s third matchup of the season with Wheaton North, Glenbard North had to hold on for a 7-4 victory in the Class 4A regional semifinal.

The Panthers advance to Saturday’s 11 a.m. regional championship.

“They battled back and we didn’t make some plays we usually get to,” Sanew said. “I didn’t like what I saw. From a coaching standpoint, I’m not happy with that performance.

“You can’t come out and play like that. It is one and done at this point, that is what we learned last year. You’ve got to come out with a lot of energy.”

Glenbard North seemed to have things well in hand early on, scoring three runs in the first inning, highlighted by a Steph Campos home run. The Panthers’ leadoff hitter added an RBI double in the third before Sarah Petzold cranked out RBI hits in both the third and fifth frames.

But Wheaton North plated three runs in the top of the sixth and then threatened in the top of the seventh by putting the first two runners on. Coming in to shut the door was Cece Dopart, who relieved starting pitcher Lindsey Cherry and recorded three straight outs.

“Cece did a beautiful job,” the coach said. “She attacked early and I can’t say enough about what she did. Lindsey also threw well. I don’t know if she got a little fatigued but she lost a little velocity and that’s when we said we needed to make a move. The name of the game is moving on as a team.”

Now, if the Panthers have their sights set on getting a chance to avenge last year’s sectional final loss, they need to shore up some areas.

“We definitely have to clean it up defensively,” Sanew said. “We’ve got to be more vocal and talk. And we have to clean up our baserunning. Those little things end up making or breaking you in the playoffs.”

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