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Carol Stream

Panthers pounce for spot in sectional final

Glenbard North to play for third straight sectional championship

BARTLETT – The third time has to be the charm, right?

That is certainly what Glenbard North's softball team is hoping after the Panthers advanced to their third consecutive sectional final after defeating St. Charles North 10-4 on Tuesday.

In each of the past two seasons, the squad has fallen short of a berth in the supersectional by one run.

Senior second baseman Alex Caliva is one of the veteran players who has been through the heartbreak.

"It is always our goal to get [to the supersectional], and hopefully the third time will be the charm," said the second baseman, who returned midway through the spring from a torn ACL. "We have a great team on the field. We are really excited and I think we have a great chance."

North will play either St. Charles East or Conant in the sectional championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday.

"We are blessed to be going to our third one in a row," Glenbard North coach Josh Sanew said. "That is very, very rare. A lot of our girls have been a part of the past two years. They've got the itch, they've got the hunger for it. They still have a bad taste for the last two.

"We will come out and give our best effort and see what happens. There are 16 great teams left in the state and every game is a battle."

Hitting like the Panthers did against the North Stars would certainly make the task easier.

A two-run double by Heather Sperlazzo was followed by an RBI-single from Kayla Quanstrum in the first inning. Glenbard North added three more runs in the second on an RBI-single by Stephanie Campos and a two-run double by Sarah Petzold.

Sydney Benz contributed a long home run in the fourth and Caliva and Sperlazzo also knocked in runs in that frame. Caliva then wrapped up the scoring with an RBI-single in the sixth.

Petzold and Sperlazzo both finished 4-for-4 while Caliva was 3-for-4.

"We knew they were a great team, we played them at the beginning of the season and it was really close," Caliva said of St. Charles North. "I thought we came out with a different approach at the plate. All of us were ready to go. Hitting is contagious and it was tough to stop."

That run support was more than enough for pitcher Cece Dopart, who once again reached double-digits in strikeouts. She fanned 13 in a complete-game effort, yielding nine hits.

"I felt really good out there," Dopart said. "I thought I was throwing hard. And the run support definitely gave me a little wiggle room, it's a lot easier on you, less stress."

On Saturday, Glenbard North captured the Rolling Meadows regional championship with a 7-0 win against Willowbrook.

Dopart was dominant, allowing just one hit while striking out 14.

Benz drove in the first run of the game with an RBI-single in the third and then Glenbard North added three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth frames, with Campos contributing a two-run double.

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