Softball: Minooka turns back Lincoln-Way East
By Mike Fitzgerald For Sun-Times Media May 25, 2013 6:50PM
Updated: June 28, 2013 6:34AM
Minooka first baseman Mikayla Melone wasn’t worried that Lincoln-Way East carried the higher seed into Saturday’s Class 4A Crete Monee Regional final.
“Rankings don’t mean anything this time of the year,” the senior said after the ninth-seeded Indians toppled the top-seeded Griffins 3-1 to claim the regional title and advance to the Lincoln-Way East Sectional, where they will meet Lockport at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Melone delivered a bases-clearing double in the top of the fourth to give Minooka (18-8) a 3-1 lead. The Griffins (19-8) had led 1-0 after pitcher Chrisi Mizera’s RBI single in the bottom of the first.
“Just before going up there we were down so I was thinking I need to get a hit for my team,” Melone said. “I put the bat on the ball and you saw what happened.”
Melone’s hit hugged the left-field line all the way to the fence and brought home Sara Novak, Kelsey Smith and Jackie Lilek.
“Her (Mizera’s) big pitch was her riseball, so I laid off of that. It was an inside pitch that I just got around on,” Melone said.
Lilek started the game for the Indians and settled down after East scored in the first. She gave way to Novak in the bottom of the fifth.
Novak retired seven in a row before the Griffins’ Jorgi Calombaris singled. Carissa Ernat then reached on an error, but the Griffins’ Devon Morgan lined into a double play to end the game.
“It’s (beating Lincoln-Way East) definitely huge because all three years I’ve been here we’ve won one regional game and lost the regional championship,” Novak said. “One of our goals was to do more in the postseason. It didn’t matter who we were playing, we just wanted to come out and play good softball.”
Novak didn’t panic when the potential tying runs reached base in the bottom of the seventh.
“I just kept my composure. I was just thinking about hitting my spots and getting ahead,” Novak said.
Minooka coach Mark Brown credited Novak and Lilek’s efforts with getting them past the Griffins.
“We had great pitching,” Brown said. “Our pitching has been keeping us in games all year. I can’t say enough about Jackie and Sara. We know if we can push across a couple of runs early we can compete with anyone in the state. We got a clutch bases-loaded double, and we were able to keep their bats cold.”