High School Softball: Providence falls to Marengo in 8 innings
By Tony Baranek email@example.com June 8, 2012 11:36AM
Courtney Pych, of Providence, connects against Marengo in Friday's Class 3A state softball semifinal in East Peoria. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
At EastSide Centre, East Peoria
Marist 2, Elk Grove 0
Bartlett 7, Moline 3
Third place: Elk Grove
vs. Moline, 2:30 p.m.
vs. Bartlett, 5 p.m.
At EastSide Centre, East Peoria
Marengo 2, Providence 1
Glenbard South 11, Mattoon 1
Third place: Providence
vs. Mattoon, 9:30 a.m.
Championship: Glenbard South
vs. Marengo, noon
Updated: July 11, 2012 10:20AM
EAST PEORIA — Bad luck, an error and missed opportunities all came together Friday to derail Providence’s dream of winning the Class 3A state softball title.
Marengo moved on via a 2-1 victory in eight innings, relegating the Celtics to Saturday’s third-place contest at EastSide Centre.
If there was a tougher way to lose, some deep digging would have to be done to find it.
Marengo (36-6) scored the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth.
Reed Karsten led off with a high chopper that landed in the middle of three defenders, spun to the side and slowly rolled to a stop just inside the foul line.
Karsten stole second, and was on third base with one out when Stephanie Cartwright missed on a suicide-squeeze attempt.
Catcher Ellie Bartosz had Karsten picked off at third, but her throw sailed into left field past a diving Courtney Pych, who had come over to cover from short. The ball continued past Tara Airola in left field. Karsten scored easily.
It was the final frustration in a morning filled with them for the Celtics (28-13), who had an early lead but wasted countless other opportunities.
Providence stranded 13 runners.
“That’s a lot,” Celtics coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “The kids battled. I think we had a good game plan, but we just couldn’t get a big hit when we needed it.
“And the end of the game, we had a kid (out) and just didn’t execute. It happens. But that’s a lot of pressure to put on your pitching and your defense when you just keep leaving people on base.”
The frustrations started in the top of the first when Pych led off by drawing a walk from Marengo’s Lindsay Melson but was eventually thrown out at the plate on Amanda Wilson’s ground ball to a drawn-in infield.
The Celtics did break through in the third when Sarah Brightmore was hit by a pitch and scored on a double to left-center field by Wilson.
But Providence would strand two runners in that inning, three in the fifth, two in the sixth, one in the seventh and three in the eighth.
Melson allowed seven hits, but pitched herself out of most of the jams with a strikeout. She totaled 11 for the game.
Almost as adept on the Providence side was Allie Strick and Wilson, who for the 18th time this season pitched in the same game.
Strick blanked Marengo over the first four innings, stranding three runners while striking out four. She was pulled by Biesterfeld in the top of the fifth after allowing a double by Marengo’s Bethany Hart and hitting Taylor Carlson with a pitch.
Wilson came on and struck out Shae Karsten, but allowed a game-tying double by Karsten. With runners on second and third and one out, Wilson came up big, getting a strikeout and a comebacker to the circle.
“I felt good. I was just hoping we could pull through and get a run or two,” Wilson said.
The junior left-hander went on to retire the side in order in the sixth and seventh before Marengo struck for the game-winner in the eighth.
“Hey, they got a chop single, a stolen base ... they manufactured a run and forced us to make a mistake, I guess,” Biesterfeld said. “We had countless opportunities and it just didn’t work out.
“Very disappointing. Not taking anything away from them, but I thought we outplayed them in this particular game today. It just didn’t work out for us.”