OSWEGO – Kristin Lea kept it simple against one of the top pitchers in the state.
"I was just looking for a first-pitch strike," the Downers Grove South sophomore said. "I just wanted to see my pitch, go get it and hit it hard."
Lea's double off Dale Ryndak to start the bottom of the third inning in a Class 4A sectional semifinal game against Downers Grove North started a seven-run inning as the Mustangs went on to defeat the Trojans 7-4 on Thursday.
"I would have liked to close the door a little bit better, but I'll take the win," South head coach Ron Havelka said. "They're a tough team with a great pitcher, but we were able to get some runs off her."
After Lea's double, Kristen Bialek was hit by a pitch and Melissa Orton reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Jess Andree hit a bases-clearing single to put the Mustangs up 3-0. Caitlyn Daly singled and Zahrya McFarland walked to re-load the bases. Caroline Hedgcock singled home Andree, Daly scored on a passed ball, Nicole Bowman's groundout scored McFarland and Megan LoBianco's groundout brought in Hedgcock.
"We all came out to compete," said Hedgcock, who earned the pitching win. "They're a good team, but we came out to win. We had great energy."
The Trojans (28-3-1) made things interesting with four runs in the top of the seventh. Ryndak reached on an error to start the inning and later came home when Anne Lusher reached on an error with two outs. Kaylee Newstrom singled and Jaclyn Pasakarnis cleared the bases with a home run to right field.
"They strung some hits together and we had some untimely errors. We tried to bounce back, but in the end we came up a little bit short," North head coach Eric Landschoot said. "But give our girls credit. They didn't go down without a fight. They stayed up the whole time."
The Mustangs lost 4-0 against Naperville Central in Saturday's sectional championship game. It was the first time the Mustangs (33-3) were held scoreless all season.
"We had an unbelievable season and had one of the best records we've had in a long time," Havelka said. "This team really accomplished a lot."
Downers Grove S. 7
Downers Grove N. 4
• Jess Andree: 1-for-3, 3 RBI, R
• Caroline Hedgcock: 1-for-3, RBI, R; 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER
• Nicole Bowman: RBI
• Megan LoBianco: RBI
• Jaclyn Pasakarnis: 1-for-2, HR, 3 RBI, R, BB
• Kaylee Newstrom: 1-for-3, R
• Dale Ryndak: R