Softball: Are playoff shockers just beginning?
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org May 28, 2012 8:38PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:47AM
Upsets were the order of the day in Saturday’s Class 4A regional finals, with then-No. 8 Sandburg defeating No. 2 Andrew and No. 7 Marist beating Lincoln-Way East.
Many would say the biggest shocker was in Class 3A, where unranked Tinley Park slugged its way past No. 5 — and host — Marian Catholic.
Titans coach Wendy Podbielniak, however, wasn’t so shocked.
“I would say to the outside world it was an upset, yes,” Podbielniak said. “On the inside, at Tinley Park High School, no.
“We were prepared. We worked our rear ends off scouting, our coaching staff spent the time traveling and doing whatever we possibly could to figure out how to prepare the kids. And the kids were confident.”
The Titans (24-10) once again will wear the underdog cape in Wednesday’s Providence Sectional semifinal when they face the host Celtics (25-12). Oak Forest (24-12) and Kankakee will meet Thursday in the other semifinal.
Providence parlayed a four-run first inning to a 5-4 victory over Tinley Park on May 11 behind home runs by Tara Airola and Courtney Pych. Left-hander Amanda Wilson didn’t start, but came on in relief late for the save.
The Celtics have been on an major upswing since a 7-2 loss May 14 to Marian Catholic. They avenged that loss two days later by beating the Spartans 6-2 behind two more home runs by Pych, blanked Mother McAuley behind a homer by Airola and a complete game by Allie Strick, and swept Carmel in a doubleheader.
Saturday, Airola again went yard in a 12-5 victory over host Lemont in the regional final.
In Tinley Park’s win over Marian, Maranda Stroz hit two home runs and Amber Buss one. The Titans have scored 32 runs over their past three games.
“We’re attacking the ball,” Podbielniak said. “We’re not afraid of anybody. If we can’t put you out the park we’ll dink you and run the heck out of you.”
In Class 4A, Richards (30-4) and Mother McAuley (24-10) are scheduled to meet Wednesday in a Sandburg Sectional semifinal. It’s their second head-to-head game this season. The Mighty Macs prevailed April 24 by a 6-1 margin behind the hitting of Alex Brown and Emily Powers and the pitching of Ashley Rogers.
Thursday’s match-up between Sandburg (21-15) and Marist (22-15) is a reprise of an April 24 meeting in which Brooke Wyderski knocked in two runs as the RedHawks were victorious 3-2.