Softball: Playoff run no surprise for Sandburg
By Tony Baranek email@example.com June 12, 2014 8:18PM
Brooke Heimerl, of Sandburg, looks to put out the Marist batter for the 4A Softball Reavis Sectional Championship. Saturday, June 7th, 2014, in Burbank. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Softball state finals schedule
Class 3A semifinals
Game 1: St. Ignatius (28-12) vs. Chatham Glenwood (30-7),
Game 2: Sterling (30-8) vs.
Manteno (38-1), 12:30 p.m.
Class 4A semifinals
Game 1: Sandburg (23-15) vs. Lincoln-Way East (27-10), 3 p.m.
Game 2: Warren (26-9) vs. Glenbard North (30-5), 5:30 p.m.
Game 3: loser Game 1 vs. loser Game 2 (3rd place), 10 a.m.
Game 4: winner Game 1 vs. winner Game 2 (1st place),
Game 3: loser Game 1 vs. loser Game 2 (3rd place), 3 p.m.
Game 4: winner Game 1 vs. winner Game 2 (1st place), 5:30 p.m.
Updated: July 14, 2014 6:37AM
That Sandburg is playing Lincoln-Way East in a Class 4A state semifinal game Friday may come as a surprise to some.
Eagles coach Jim Fabianski, though, saw signs before the playoff run even started.
He called them “glimpses and glimmers.”
Throughout the season, Sandburg had its ups and downs against one of the state’s toughest schedules. During a rocky final week, the Eagles lost three of four games, but they went down kicking against top-tier competition.
In each of the losses they scored in the seventh inning to draw within one run. In the fourth game, they went 13 innings with Barrington and won on a walk-off home run by Maddie Hanley.
At 18-15, they weren’t looking pretty record-wise, but they were playoff ready.
“What I told the girls was, ‘You know what? You are prepared for this moment because of the journey you’ve been on,’ ” Fabianski said. “We experienced all of the highs, all of the lows. Playing teams that have done well in the playoffs, and maybe not winning all the time, we at least showed glimpses and glimmers along the way.”
Over the past three games the Eagles (23-15) have won close battles against Mother McAuley, Marist and Naperville Central.
Staff ace Sarah Herold hasn’t allowed an unearned run in the playoffs, although twice she has turned the ball over late to Emily Griskell, who came up aces both times.
Herold had mixed success against Lincoln-Way East (27-10), striking out 13 in a 3-1 victory on April 22, but getting chased in the fourth inning in an 8-4 loss on May 12.
“It has its ups and downs (facing East),” Herold said. “We know their girls and we know their pitching, but you have to look it like they’re saying the same thing about us.
“They’re in the same situation as us, where nobody expected them to go this far. They had a good playoff run, too.
I think it’s going to come down to whoever comes with the most energy and wants it.”
There was a time when Sandburg senior shortstop Cierra Adamus wondered if the Eagles were lacking in that department, especially when they were 10-9 as late as April 28.
“With our record the way it was and the way that the girls had been lately I was starting to wonder,” she said. “When the postseason started we became a completely different team. That just gave me a new type of hope. I was saying things like, ‘I have to lead my team today, whether it be just fielding or everything together.’ ”
Griskell showed her mettle in the seventh inning of Monday’s 4-2 win against Naperville Central when after being hit in the back of the head by a throw to second by catcher Karli McLaughlin, she not only stayed on her feet but after passing a concussion test waved off taking any practice pitches.
“I didn’t black out or anything,” Griskell said. “I got a little blurry vision, but it was more of a shock than pain at first. I just kind of shook it off and focused on what I had to do.”
On the next play Griskell speared a hot grounder and forced a runner out at third. She got the next batter to line out to Adamus, who doubled a runner off of second to end the game.
“Once it happened I just looked toward Emily and thought, ‘We did it,’ ” Adamus said. “I just think at this point it’s going to be the drive to win that makes the difference.”