Softball: Wilmington upsets Beecher in regional final
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media May 18, 2013 5:50PM
Beecher's Emily Landis connects on a pitch in the Regional Final game against Wilmington. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 20, 2013 4:18PM
Wilmington’s Paula Tupper had her lead.
With the Wildcats scoring a run in the fifth to go up 3-2 against Beecher, just nine outs separated Tupper from a regional title.
Host Beecher was going to make her work for it.
“You have to stay calm and rely on your defense a lot,” Tupper said. “You can’t let the count or the batter intimidate you. Just focus on that exact second and try to get the out.”
Tupper pitched in and out of jams in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, escaping unscathed in helping clinch the 3-2 upset win in the Class 2A Beecher Regional title game.
It was the program’s first regional title since 2003. Wilmington (13-9) pulled off upsets of the regional’s top two teams, No. 1 Beecher and No. 2 Seneca.
“I think Saturday was the first day we really came out and played as a team,” Wilmington coach Jack Skole said. “You stay in the game and anything can happen. I’m really happy for these girls.”
Ashley Adermann’s bunt single scored Stephanie Stefancic (leadoff triple) in the fifth to snap a 2-2 tie for the Wildcats.
Holding the slimmest of leads, Tupper put runners on base in each of the final three innings, but that’s just where they stayed. The senior stranded two runners apiece in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
With runners on first and second in the seventh, Tupper induced a Katie Howard pop-up to end the game. Her pressure-packed win was aided by three sterling plays in the field from shortstop Ashley Butcher.
“Beecher was setting up for the win, and we took it from them, so it’s an awesome feeling,” Butcher said. “We were backing Paula up whenever we could.”
Beecher (27-8) stranded 10 runners Saturday. Sarah Crews finished 4-for-4 with a solo home run, two RBI and a double for the Ladycats, but the rest of the lineup mustered just two hits.
“Runners in scoring position with the right people batting,” Beecher coach Kevin Hayhurst said. “We needed one timely hit. It’s the team that plays best on that day.”
Beecher lost in the regional for the second straight year.