Softball: Burlington Central rolling into postseason
BY GENE CHAMBERLAIN For Sun-Times Media May 20, 2012 7:22PM
Burlington Central's Angie Morrow throws a five-inning no-hitter against Hampshire earlier this month. The Rockets have won 16 of 17 going into the postseason. | Karen Naess ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:24PM
If momentum means anything, Burlington Central’s softball team could be headed on a historic postseason trip.
If it doesn’t mean much, perhaps Bartlett or Elgin could be making postseason statements.
The Class 3A Rockets and freshman pitching sensation Angie Morrow are easily the hottest team in the area, with 16 wins in 17 games — the lone loss to defending state 4A champion Moline, which they also beat.
Until last week, Bartlett (26-8) seemed a strong area 4A postseason contender, but three straight defeats left the Hawks sharing the Upstate Eight Valley title with Waubonsie Valley.
Bartlett lost five of its last six total but coach Jim Wolfsmith said it was never the team’s ultimate goal to win a UEC title.
“We know what we’re trying to accomplish, and that’s to be the second Bartlett softball team to get downstate,” said Wolfsmith, who coached the Hawks downstate in 2007. “We know to do that we’ve got to play good softball now.”
So Wolfsmith thinks Tori Burke (15-6), Amanda Montbriand (8-2) and the rest of the Hawks can turn it around in a hurry in their own regional, where they are the highest seeds.
“I don’t think this group is going to suffer any hangover from losing games,” Wolfsmith said.
Elgin, meanwhile, is the second-highest seed at the Elk Grove Class 4A Regional, possibly the most difficult opening tournament in the area.
“We’ve been playing well lately so we’ll give them what we’ve got and come out swinging and playing defense and hoping to advance,” Maroons coach Chad Dahlman said.
Maroons pitcher Hannah Perryman (17-8) needs 11 strikeouts in the regional to reach 837 for her career and set the school career strikeout record, but opens up in the circle Wednesday at 4:30 in the Elk Grove Regional against Schaumburg (18-14) with a possible matchup looming against top regional seed Elk Grove (26-8) and ace pitcher Dani Goranson in the finals.
“You know Schaumburg is going to be tough when they come out of the Mid-Suburban League and each of the top four teams in that conference are top seeds in the regionals,” Dahlman said. “They’ve played strong teams all year.”
MSL teams Conant, Fremd, Elk Grove and Barrington are the top seeds at each of the regionals that feed into the Barrington Sectional.
The Maroons will back Perryman with hitting from Anna Eckholm (.388) and from Monica Stockman, who suffered a knee injury but has played anyway.
“She’s battling through it,” Dahlman said. “It gave out on her again in practice earlier (last) week. But she’s been a warrior for us and will play.”
Dundee-Crown (8-23) and hot-hitting center fielder/pitcher Melany Love (.533) plays Tuesday at Elk Grove.
Kiernan Schock, Alex Buhrow and Larkin (3-29) are in the Hoffman Estates regional with a quarterfinal game Monday against the host school (5-25). The winner faces top-seeded Conant (30-2) Tuesday. South Elgin (13-19) and hard-hiitting catcher Alyssa Buddle (.530), and Streamwood (10-21) are the area teams at the Fremd Regional. The Sabres play Tuesday against Fremd (28-7) while the Storm on Wednesday plays Lake Zurich (24-7), the fifth-highest seed in the Barrington Sectional complex.
Bartlett is the second seed in the Lake Park Sectional complex behind only Glenbard North and Purdue-bound pitcher Lilly Fechow. The Hawks open their own regional Tuesday at home against the winner of Monday’s Addison Trail-Hinsdale Central quarterfinal matchup. Glenbard West and Wheaton Warrenville South.
Also in that sectional is last year’s state runner-up, St. Charles North. The Stars and pitcher Sabrina Rabin had little respect shown their way at seeding time and as the 10th seed must open against rival St. Charles East (20-12), a team they beat 6-4 and 7-6. East was seeded eighth and North 10th within their sectional. The Upstate Eight River champion Stars (22-12) did need 13 innings to win the second matchup against East. They play at North Wednesday at 4:30 with the winner likely to play in Saturday’s title game against Fechow and Glenbard North.
Two area Fox Valley Conference teams — Huntley (10-22) and Jacobs (20-14) are in the Huntley Regional. The Red Raiders must play top-seeded Fox Valley Valley co-champ Cary-Grove Tuesday at 4:30 while Jacobs plays Crystal Lake South (21-10) Wednesday. Jacobs won its regular-season games over South, 5-3 and 2-1.
Burlington Central (26-8) starts the postseason in its own regional Tuesday after a murderous regular-season schedule by hosting rival Hampshire (11-23), which has lost five straight games. But the regional that feeds into the Belvidere North Sectional is no easy path for the Rockets since they could see DeKalb pitcher Katie Kowalski in the finals. The Barbs’ ace missed 2 1/2 weeks with a shoulder injury but is healthy now.
DeKalb (21-10) plays Sycamore in the first round, a team that beat Central in the season opener (9-8). Central beat DeKalb 10-2 earlier this month when both teams used many of their reserves to keep from giving each other too good a look heading into regionals.
Central and DeKalb actually finished tied for top seed in this regional at the seeding meeting, but the Rockets won the flip of a coin.