Softball: For Bartlett, 2012 season was ‘unforgettable’
BY GENE CHAMBERLAIN For Sun-Times Media June 9, 2012 9:18PM
Bartlett's Amanda Montabriand (left) and Phoenix Peth display their emotions after losing to Marist 5-1 Saturday during the Class 4A championship game. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 11, 2012 10:32AM
When Bartlett’s Hawks think back on their wild run to a state Class 4A championship softball game, they’ll remember two five-run innings.
They’ll remember one with a little more fondness.
The one they’ll never forget came in Friday’s state semifinals when they came back from a 3-0 deficit to get within 3-2, and then scored five in the top of the seventh to beat defending state champion Moline 7-3. The other five-run inning wasn’t so kind. Marist exploded for five in the fifth inning Saturday to win the state title 5-0 over Bartlett.
“It was in reverse,” coach Jim Wolfsmith said, comparing the two five-run innings. “It was kind of the same situation.
“The game of softball is all about momentum and hitting does get contagious. I give a lot of the credit to Marist. They hit the ball real well today and they hit it in key situations and their pitcher did a real good job of mixing it up.”
Marist, which had nine hits — including five for extra bases — got a fifth-inning grand slam from junior cleanup hitter Haly Richy, after a squeeze bunt had produced the game’s first run. In all, Marist bunched together four hits in the fifth, including two perfect bunts.
Bartlett pitcher Tori Burke, who will play for Cardinal Stritch next year, had struck out Richy in the fourth inning on an inside pitch. But in the fifth, on a 3-2 pitch, Richy rode it out high over the left-field fence to break open the game.
“I tried to do the same thing and I think she was kind of expecting it,” Burke said of an inside pitch. “She was expecting a pitch to be there and she swung as hard as she could and it went.”
The Hawks had their chances early, especially in the third when they loaded the bases with one out. But after a fielder’s choice out at the plate on an infield grounder, Alex Morales lined a shot low and near the third base bag that Marist third baseman Sydney Johnson snared.
“If that gets by her, it may clear the bases,” Wolfsmith said.
A lead there might have meant more pressure on Marist and less free swinging.
“You get up 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and it’s a different kind of feeling for everybody involved,” Wolfsmith said.
The day before against Moline the Hawks had done the celebrating after Kayla Haberstich’s three-run home run broke up the game after Kaylyn Zierke’s RBI single had tied it and Alex Morales’ single had given the Hawks the lead.
Instead, on Saturday they accepted the second-place trophy — the school’s second state runner-up team trophy — their individual medals, along with their school record 32 wins and nine losses, then shed a few tears before departing East Peoria’s EastSide Centre.
“It’s been unforgettable,” said Zierke, the Hawks’ catcher who every game wears an arm band with her late grandfather Paul Salce’s name on it to honor him. “It’s been a great ride for us and I’m really proud of our accomplishment.”
Burke, who had allowed only five postseason runs in six games before Saturday, will cherish plenty of moments and not just the incredible Friday rally past Moline.
“It would be every outstanding moment that has gotten us here,” she said. “I can pick one thing from every game that has gotten us here very easily. From the regional to the sectional — which nobody thought we were going to get past Glen North.
“It wasn’t one game that got us here. I’m going to remember every step of way.”
Noting the tears after the awards presentation, Wolfsmith revealed what he told his players before they departed.
“You obviously wanted to talk about the great win and the state championship,” he said. “What you want them to realize is the sadness in losing the game will pass and the pride in the accomplishment of getting here and being one of the last two teams standing will kick in.”
Wolfsmith thought the bus ride back to Bartlett would be anything but a sad, quiet one. “They’ll get over it. Probably by the bus ride home, I’m guessing. They’ll be looking at it as a great memory and not a sad one.”