Softball: Lincoln-Way East totals 15 hits to steamroll Joliet West for sectional title
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media June 7, 2014 6:52PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 6:36AM
After losing 5-4 to Joliet West in early May, Lincoln-Way East coach Elizabeth Pawlicki walked off the field disappointed but with one big positive thought.
“We’re close,” she said. “We’re right there.”
Pawlicki was definitely onto something.
Continuing its tear through the playoffs, Lincoln-Way East rolled to a 12-2 win Saturday over top-seeded Joliet West in the Class 4A Andrew Sectional championship game.
“The girls always knew they could do this, getting here, and they did it,” Pawlicki said. “I’m really proud. Sometimes the postseason, it steps that notch up a little bit.”
The sectional title was the first for Lincoln-Way East (26-10) since the 2007 season. The Griffins advance to play Monday at the Normal Supersectional at Illinois State University.
Riding high on an offensive surge, Lincoln-Way East kept hitting and didn’t stop, scoring in five different innings with a 15-hit attack. Jenny Van Geertry finished with two RBI and two runs while Nikole Van Gennep had three RBI. Both players went 3-for-4.
“We’re just really up right now,” Van Geertry said. “We’re feeding off each other. Our team supports each other and nothing is changing our momentum. We’re staying up.”
Already leading 4-2 through four innings, Van Gennep smashed a three-run homer to straightaway center as part of a four-run fifth.
Van Gennep also earned the pitching win, giving up two runs in the first before settling in. She allowed seven hits and four walks but stranded nine runners, including pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.
“We had to stay pumped up,” Van Gennep said. “I got really excited that first inning wanting to do my best. I calmed myself down after the first, and it is fine after that.”
Olivia Prieto (3 runs), Nicole O’Donnell (2 RBI) and Eleni Kioussis (2 runs, RBI) added to East’s offensive balance, with seven players tallying at least one RBI.
Lincoln-Way East has scored in double-digits in three straight games.
Joliet West finishes the 30-8, having started the season 0-4. Alysia Rodriguez and Kiley Robb had an RBI apiece for the Tigers, with Joy Treasure adding two hits and a run scored.
“(East) is on fire right now,” Joliet West coach Heather Suca said. “I’m proud of our girls. Most innings we ended with a line drive to an outfielder. We couldn’t get stuff to fall. We had opportunities.”