The 2014 IHSA softball season concludes this weekend as the Class 3A and Class 4A state finals unfold at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria. The games will take place on the Eastside Centre’s award-winning Mizuno Field on Friday and Saturday, June 13-14. The 2014 finals mark the 39th annual edition of the state tournament, the seventh season of the four-class series and the 14th consecutive season that the Eastside Centre has served as the host.
The Class 3A tourney will conclude with a school winning its first softball state title this weekend. The field features a pair of first-time qualifiers in St Ignatius and Manteno, while Glenwood hopes its fifth trip to state ends with a championship. Sterling is the lone returnee from last season, making its second straight and second overall state final appearance. St. Ignatius and Glenwood meet at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, followed by Sterling and Manteno in the second semifinal at 12:30 p.m.
All four Class 4A qualifiers have reached the state finals before, starting with Sandburg, who went 40-2 and won the state crown in 2010. Sandburg’s semifinal opponent (3:00 p.m. Friday) is Lincoln-Way East, whose 2002 state championship in the school’s inaugural season with no seniors inspired the book “We Can Do This.” Glenbard North makes its first state final trip since 2001 when it faces Warren at 5:30 p.m. in the final game of the day. Glenbard North’s 12 seasons between state final trips doesn’t rival the streak of its opponent, as Warren’s one and only previous state trip came in 1980.
Fans can watch every inning of the 2014 IHSA Softball State Finals live on the NFHS Network via www.IHSA.tv, as Beau Spencer returns to call the action.
ST. IGNATIUS WOLFPACK (28-12) vs.
GLENWOOD TITANS (30-7)
Allison Heraty has guided St. Ignatius to its first-ever state final appearance in school history in just her second season at the helm. The Wolfpack outscored their first four postseason opponents 59-0, before edging Montini 5-4 in the Super-Sectional round. The Wolfpack feature a pair of capable pitchers in senior Maura Lynch (19-7, 1.31 ERA, 181 K) and junior Colleen Hoffman (8-5, 101 K), who have also been the team’s most consistent hitters this season, posting .450 and .448 batting averages, respectively. Senior centerfielder Kathryn Gallagher (.434) has a team-high 64 RBI this season.
Glenwood is no stranger to the state finals, as head coach Vondel Edgar previously led the Titans to state in 2005 and 2009, finishing second in the latter trip. Eight regulars in the Glenwood lineup are hitting .300 or better this season, including juniors Parker Bandy (.496, 59 R) and lefty bat Madi Torry (.389, 30 RBI). Fellow junior Brianna Graham (18-5, 1.51 ERA, 113 K) was the winning pitcher in the Super-Sectional, while sophomore Janek Squibb is also a 12-game winner.
STERLING GOLDEN WARRIORS (30-8) vs.
MANTENO PANTHERS (38-1)
Sterling head coach Becki Edmondson was an assistant coach on last year’s Golden Warrior team that placed fourth in the school’s inaugural trip to state. Long-time coach Rick Henderson retired following last season and Edmondson took over and promptly led the team back behind freshman pitcher Lexy Staples (30-8, 2.41 ERA, 175 K). All-State senior shortstop Karlie Mellot (.510, 27 RBI, 8 HR) is the heart of the team, while several sophomore starters were a part of Sterling’s 2011 Little League Softball World Series champion team.
One of the smallest schools by enrollment (656) in Class 3A, Manteno and head coach Josh Carlile haven’t played like an underdog in 2014, opening the season 30-0. Senior Western Illinois commit Brooke Stulga is the team’s rock in the pitching circle (35-1, 0.70 ERA, 288 K) and at the plate (.542, 40 RBI, 7 HR), while junior shortstop Carly Trepanier (.450, 47 R, 30 RBI) has been equally potent. The Panthers are trying to keep pace with their girl’s soccer team, which won a state title on May 31.
SANDBURG EAGLES (23-15) vs.
LINCOLN-WAY EAST GRIFFINS (27-10)
Sandburg is making its 12th state final appearance in 2014 and third under head coach Jim Fabianski. Ironically, this year’s squad has the second-lowest win total of any Fabianski team during his nine seasons in the dugout. The Eagles are playing their best ball of the season at the right time behind the pitching of senior lefty Sarah Herold (10-6, 2.77 ERA, 132 K) and the hitting of junior first basemen Katie Krzus (.411, 28 RBI, 6 HR) and sophomore 2B/C Bri Soltis (.357, 29 RBI, 5 HR).
Lincoln-Way East makes its third state final appearance in 2014 and first under third-year head coach Elizabeth Pawlicki. Like the aforementioned ’02 Griffin state title team, the 2014 edition has several juniors starring in key spots, starting with pitcher Nikole Van Gennep (13-3, 1.49 ERA, 161 K). A pair of juniors are also leading the way at the plate in NIU commit Jenny Van Geertry (.521, 47 RBI, 6 HR) and Blake Ruiz (.377, 52 RBI, 12 HR).
WARREN BLUE DEVILS (26-9) vs.
GLENBARD NORTH PANTHERS (30-5)
Brian McNulty’s first season leading the Blue Devil softball team has been one to remember, as Warren makes its first state final appearance since the Carter administration. The team has made it look easy as well, dispatching its five postseason opponents by a combined total of 38-17. Warren’s offense has scored in double-digits 15 times this season and is paced by senior outfielder Michele Vasen (.469, 38 R, 21 RBI) and junior first basemen Rachele Belletini (.352, 25 R, 23 RBI). Senior Jana Wagner (14-3, 3.48 ERA, 140 K) has been the Blue Devils ace in the pitching circle in 2014.
Glenbard North lost a one-run game to eventual state runner-up St. Charles East in the Sectional final a year ago, but breaks through in 2014 for the first state final appearance under fourth-year head coach Josh Sanew. The Panthers enter state having won 19 of their last 20, thanks in part to the pitching of senior Cece Dopart (26-4, 1.00 ERA), who broke the 300 strikeout (303) threshold in the Super-Sectional. At the plate, the Panthers rely on the bats of senior centerfielder Sarah Petzold (.513, 36 R, 34 RBI) and senior shortstop Sydney Benz (.407, 40 R, 6 HR).
Eastside Centre (East Peoria)
Friday, June 13
Class 3A Semifinals
St. Ignatius vs. Glenwood
Sterling vs. Manteno
Class 4A Semifinals
Sandburg vs. Lincoln-Way East
Warren vs. Glenbard North
Saturday, June 14
Class 3A Finals
10:00 a.m. - Third-Place
12:30 p.m. - Championship
Class 4A Finals
3:00 p.m. - Third-Place
5:30 p.m. - Championship
All games available live on www.IHSA.tv
WSDR 1240 AM (Sterling)
RESULTS & BOX SCORES
IHSA Softball Page
$6 per day
HISTORY & RECORDS
2014 3A State Series
2014 4A State Series
Record Book & Past Champions