EAST PEORIA - With Saturday's game between Glenbard South and Alton Marquette scoreless through seven innings, the Class 3A state championship game was going to come down to who could come up with the big hit.
To the surprise of nobody on the Raiders' side, it was senior Jane Trzaska who delivered the honors.
The four-year varsity player, who came into the state semifinals batting at a .500 clip, hit a two-out triple to knock in Payton Carli in the top of the eighth inning and Glenbard South went on to notch a 1-0 victory and capture the program's second consecutive state championship.
"It's an amazing feeling, winning it last year and then repeating it this year," Trzaska said. "It's unbelievable, I'm still in shock."
That hit made a winner out of Steph Chitkowski, who allowed just two hits in six innings of relief work. The senior, who wiggled out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the fifth, retired the Explorers in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"Last year, if we didn't win it, well that's not what we were supposed to do," Chitkowski said. "This year, we didn't expect to be here. No one thought we'd get here. We defied the odds."
Marquette pitcher Alexis Silkwood, the all-time winningiest pitcher in the state of Illinois, struck out 11 Raiders in a complete-game performance.
Glenbard South, which lost seven seniors from last year's state champion team, finished the year with a 31-5 record.