Softball: Sandburg tops Shepard for regional crown
By Randy Whalen For Sun-Times Media May 25, 2013 6:26PM
Updated: June 27, 2013 7:11AM
In the first week of May, Sandburg had a 10-12 record.
Now, the Eagles are regional champions. Again.
Meg Flaherty had three hits, Sam Radunz had three RBI and Sarah Herold fired a shutout as Sandburg won the title game of its own Class 4A regional 10-0 in six innings over upstart Shepard on Saturday.
The Eagles had 14 hits in winning for the 12th time in 14 games to improve to 22-14. The regional championship was their fifth straight and 15th in the past 16 seasons.
Shepard, which set a school record for wins in a season, finished at 23-8.
“When we beat Lincoln-Way East (9-7 on May 14) in extra innings, that opened the door,” Herold said. “We woke up and we realized we were one of the best teams in the area.”
Herold went the distance, surrendering six hits, striking out six and walking two. Shepard, which was the higher seed, stranded eight runners in the first five innings before going in order in the bottom of the sixth.
“When they were hitting, I was losing focus and my attention span is about an inch,” Herold said. “So whenever they got someone on, I stepped back and remembered it’s about the spin (on the ball), not the speed.
Sandburg sped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, highlighted by a two-run double to right by Katie Krzus (2-for-4). The Eagles tacked on four more in the fourth on a two-run single by Radunz (2-for-4), an RBI double by Meghan McPolin and a run-scoring groundout from Ellie Forkin.
“We just worked through it,” Radunz said of the team’s turnaround. “We knew we were going to be good this season. We have really good chemistry and confidence in each other.”
Karli McLaughlin (2-for-4) lined a homer to left to lead off the fifth and Radunz added an RBI single to score Flaherty (3-for-3, 2 runs, walk).
“Through the tough times we just focused,” Flaherty said. “Then we beat some tough teams and gained a lot of confidence. That correlated to success on the field and hitting wise.”
Herold had a two-out RBI single in the sixth.
Playing in her final home game, three-year shortstop Candice Koch was 2-for-3 with two runs.
Grace Michalik and Melissa Kelly had doubles for the Astros.
“Sandburg came out, was more explosive, and we had some mental errors,” Shepard coach Kelsey Clifford said. “It was a tough loss, but overall we had a great season. I told people we were a little secret on Ridgeland Avenue and this group can take a lot of pride from the season.”