Softball: Gators turnaround produces regional title
Guerin's Cassidy Tarpey is high-fived after her two-run home run in the third inning of Saturday's regional final against Walter Payton at Guerin. | Eric Davis ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:55AM
Their offense and fielding had been struggling, and the Guerin softball team wasn’t able to find a way to win a game since April 16.
After a rough top of the first inning, all those problems went by the boards as Guerin recovered from an early 2-0 deficit to rack up a season-high 13 hits and play stellar defense on its way to defeating Payton 9-2 at home on Saturday afternoon and earning its fifth straight Class 3A Regional.
“It just feels good that even though we struggled a little this season that we could keep the tradition and win our fifth straight,” said Cassidy Tarpey. “It had been a while since I hit a home run, and it felt really good to get a hit. I got all of that first home run, and then the runs started coming after that.”
Tarpey hit two home runs in the game and added a double, contributing to foru RBi on the day.
She played shortstop for the first time since she was a freshman while Natalie Lezama took her place behind the plate.
Sarah Benavides went the distance, striking out six Grizzlies and allowing eight hits and four walks. The sophomore singled home a run in the fourth, and her defense helped out a great deal. Lezama recovered from an errant pitch to get the ball back to Benavides and get a runner out at home to preserve the one-run lead in the third. Sophomore Anna D’Alessandro started a triple play to end a sixth-inning threat catching a liner, stepping on second, and throwing to senior Molly Campbell at first to end the frame.
“Natalie did great job back there, and she’s not used to catching that much so she really stepped up,” Tarpey said. “Anna did really good at second, and she doesn’t always get nod at second. I’ve never seen a triple play before.”
The victory sends the Gators (12-15) to the Fenton sectional semifinal to face Elmwood Park for the third consecutive season in the playoffs. The teams split sectional final games the past two years with the Gators having now lost three straight to the Tigers dating back to early in the 2011 season. This time they meet one round earlier at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a chance at another sectional title and the right to head to Elgin for the Supersectional game.
“I think all of them were really nervous, and Sarah started out kind of nervous,” said Guerin head coach Andy DaMato. “Actually, everything came together nicely. Anna and Natalie played great defensively. We had 13 hits and no errors, so it was kind of what we need in the playoffs, and playoffs is a new season. If we play like this, we have chance at sectional title.”