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Sectional showdown for Downers North, South softball

DOWNERS GROVE – It's deja vu all over again.

For the second year in a row, the softball teams from Downers Grove North and Downers Grove South will meet with their seasons on the line.

Last year South topped North in a sectional championship game. They will meet against today in a sectional semifinal game at Oswego East.

"Obviously it's a big game against Downers Grove South," North head coach Eric Landschoot said. "We know what kind of talent they have and we know they're very well coached. It's going to be a tough one. It's two good teams that are both playing really well right now. It should be a good one."

North (23-2-1) defeated host Neuqua Valley 4-3 in a regional championship game on Saturday. Zoe Varsbergs hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win as the Trojans battled back from a 3-0 deficit.

"They had a close call [in their regional final] but they found a way to win," South head coach Ron Havelka said. "They're having a great season. We know all about [pitcher] Dale Ryndak. She's tough and we're going to have to get the bats going to beat them.

"We have a lot of respect for them, and I think it's vice versa, too. It should be a good game. We're looking forward to it."

South (24-2) jumped out to a 3-0 lead against West Aurora in the regional title game it hosted Saturday and went on to win 7-1. Sophomore pitcher Caroline Hedgcock yielded just three hits and one earned run while striking out 10 batters.

The Trojans and Mustangs meet again with the season on the line. Last spring North won during the regular season before South pulled out the postseason win. A scheduled game during the 2014 regular season was rained out; the sectional game will be the first and only meeting of the season.

"I think there will be a little extra energy for our girls," Landschoot said. "They're friends with the girls from South and a lot of them play together in the summer, but when it comes down to it they're competitors and they're definitely going to be able to separate being friends and summer teammates from what they want to accomplish. The No. 1 job is to win."

"Our girls all play with and against each other in the summer so I don't think there is going to be any extra motivation," Havelka said. "This time of year the motivation is to win and keep playing.

"We have a lot of respect for them, and I think it's vice versa, too. It should be a good game. We're looking forward to it."

If you go

Who: Downers Grove North vs. Downers Grove South

What: Class 4A softball sectional semifinal

When: 4:30 p.m. today

Where: Oswego East High School, 1525 Harvey Road, Oswego

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