Softball: Ridgewood rallies to trip Fenton
Ridgewood senior Mallory McCormack is greeted by her team at home plate after she hit a home run, during a sectional semifinal softball game against Fenton at Redmond Park in Bensenville on Wednesday. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 22, 2012 11:49PM
A five-run seventh inning allowed Ridgewood to claim a 9-8 victory over Fenton in the Fenton Class 3A Sectional semifinal Wednesday night at Redmond Park in Bensenville.
Ridgewood’s Jill Andrades hit a sharp grounder through second baseman Kayla Reyes, plating Mallory McCormack and Arlena D’Amato to make it 9-7 in the top of the seventh to cap the rally.
“I told the girls the pressure is all on them, and not to give up,” said Ridgewood head coach Michelle Farrell-Fink. “We have nothing to lose. We have to believe and they fought the whole way.”
Ridgewood (10-15) was playing catch-up all night long and found themselves down 6-1 after four innings. The tide seemed to turn the Rebels’ way after McCormack came up with a three-run homer on a 2-2 pitch. She spoiled several pitches, including one that had home run distance, and even got bailed out on a foul pop-up to third base before parking the long fly over the left-center field fence to make it a two-run ball game.
“I just stayed calm, and took a breath,” said McCormack, who returned to the softball program for the playoffs after having played goalkeeper most of the spring for the soccer team. “I wanted to do this for my teammates who accepted me back. I can’t thank them enough.”
Fenton (18-20) scored in all but one inning. It put up a three-spot in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Kelly Kielbasa singled home a pair of runs with a bouncer over the shortstop, scoring Nicole Susmarski and Sarah Overlin. Alyssa Ciepley (13-11) took the hard-luck loss.
“It was a case where we have the lead, have the lead, have the lead, and then the season is over,” said Fenton head coach Dave Mello. “We weren’t coming into this game thinking this was going to be our last game. Unfortunately it’s been three years in a row that we’ve been stuck at the same point.”
Katie Richardson showed poise beyond being a freshman as she has handled the Ridgewood workload all season long and got key outs when she needed to. She struck out Taylor Pugliese on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to get out of a jam in the fifth and got the final three outs of the game to bring Ridgewood further than they’ve been.
“I was shaking, but I knew I had to hit my spots,” Richardson said of the final inning. “I threw it low and inside (against Pugliese) because she wasn’t swinging at that pitch the whole game.”