The 2015 IHSA Class 3A & Class 4A Softball State Finals return to the Eastside Centre in East Peoria on Friday and Saturday, June 12-13. Friday’s semifinals will unfold at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively, with the Class 2A semifinals following at 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Saturday’s game times remain the same as Friday, as the Class 3A third-place game will be followed by the 3A state championship, before the Class 4A third-place and title games in the afternoon. All eights games this weekend will be broadcast live by the NFHS Network on www.IHSA.tv as Beau Spencer returns to call the action.
A preview for the semifinal contests is provided below:
Class 3A Semifinals
KANELAND KNIGHTS (24-8) vs.
MARENGO INDIANS (34-6)
Serving as a head coach for the first time since being at Sterling in 2005, Peter Goff’s inaugural campaign leading Kaneland has resulted in the school’s second state final trip (2000). The Knights have ridden the strong pitching of senior Angie Morrow (17-2, 1.20 ERA) in the postseason en route to shutting out four of their five postseason opponents. Morrow’s battery mate, senior catcher Paige Kuefler (.486, 39 RBI, 7 HR), and junior third baseman Meg Cohrs (.451, 41 RBI, 10 HR) have paced Kaneland at the plate.
The Eastside Centre is a familiar destination for Marengo, as the Indians make their fourth state final trip since 2008 this weekend. All four trips have come under head coach Dwain Nance, including 2011’s state championship squad and 2012’s runner-up team. All the regulars from those teams are gone, but sophomore pitcher Mariah Dionne (25-3, 1.89 ERA, 259 K) as emerged as the program’s next star pitcher, while senior outfielder Veronica Ruelius (.478, 65 RBI) is having a monster season that includes 17 home runs.
WASHINGTON LADY PANTHERS (27-10) vs.
SACRED HEART-GRIFFIN CYCLONES (34-6)
Stephanie Ramsey’s Washington squad dropped six one-run games during the regular-season, but has turned the tables in the State Series, winning three of their five postseason games by a single run. That tally includes Zoe Wetherell’s (.284, 6 HR) walk-off three-run homer in the Super-Sectional that gave the Lady Panthers a 6-5 triumph over Peotone. Junior Madi McCoy is a standout in the pitching circle (21-4, 1.57 ERA) and at the plate (.372, 11 HR), while sophomore Sam Garcia (.378, 35 R) sets the table for Washington.
Al Yoho’s club breaks through for its first state final appearance in school history behind an explosive offense that has posted double-figure run totals in 19 games this season. Junior Whitney David has won 22 games as a pitcher in 2015, while often helping her own cause at the plate (.421, 48 RBI). Junior shortstop Bree Derhake (.524, 37 RBI) and left-handed freshman outfielder Renee Abernathy (.606, 42 RBI) are also tough outs. The Cyclones have won 19 of their last 20 games, the lone setback being a 7-6 loss to semifinal opponent Washington.
Class 4A Semifinals
BARRINGTON FILLIES (32-6) vs.
LINCOLN-WAY GRIFFINS (29-4)
Perry Patterson’s amazing tenure at Barrington continues with his 14th 30-win season since taking over in 1993 and the school’s eighth state final appearance this weekend. The Fillies have captured six trophies previously, but senior Keenan Dolezal (31-6, 1.36 ERA, 334 K) hopes to pitch the program to its first-ever state championship. Offensively, Barrington has scored 42 runs in five postseason games led by junior catcher Rachel MacDonald (.466, 35 RBI, 5 HR) and sophomore outfielder Rachel Krzysko (.363, 33 RBI, 5 HR).
Elizabeth Pawlicki’s Lincoln-Way East squad has unfinished business after placing fourth at state last year, as the team hopes to capture the school’s first state title since a group of underclassmen won state in the school’s inaugural season in 2002. Unlike that 2002 team, the 2015 Griffins are built on senior leadership starting with Nikole Van Gennep, a dual-threat pitcher (24-3, 0.93 ERA, 222 K) and hitter (.421, 31 RBI) and outfielder Jenny Van Geertry, who is hitting .530 with eight homers, 46 runs scored and 34 runs batted in.
MARIST REDHAWKS (32-4-2) vs.
OAK PARK-RIVER FOREST (32-3)
Marist made an improbable run to the state title in 2012 when the team entered the postseason with a 22-15 record. Head coach Colleen Biebel is writing the opposite narrative in her first season as head coach, as the RedHawks have rolled off 27 straight victories entering the semifinals. Senior pitcher Zariya Gonzalez (26-4-1, 210 K) has been tough to beat in the circle, while left-handed senior Brooke Wilson (.485, 42 R, 45 RBI) and junior shortstop Madison Naujokas (.457, 49 R, 48 RBI, 5 HR) have paced the RedHawk offense.
Mel Kolbusz continues to be one of the most consistent coaches in state history, as Oak Park-River Forest makes its 10th state final trip under its coach who has 637 career wins in 23 seasons. Despite reaching the Super-Sectional round a year ago with a bevy of young talent, freshmen second baseman Maeve Nelson (.522, 56 R, 4 HR) has stepped in as the offensive pacesetter in 2015. The Huskies have two capable pitchers in lefty sophomore Chardonnay Harris (18-2, 1.53 ERA, 172 K) and junior Emily Richardson (14-1, 1.47 ERA, 98 K). Both players are also hitting over .400 with a combined 55 RBI.
40th annual State Series
8th year of 4-Class Series
15th year at Eastside Centre
Updates/delays posted on Twitter at @IHSAWeather
Eastside Centre (East Peoria)
Friday, June 12
Class 3A Semifinals
Kaneland vs. Marengo
Washington vs. Sacred Heart-Griffin
Class 4A Semifinals
Barrington vs. Lincoln Way-East
Marist vs. Oak Park-River Forest
Saturday, June 13
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
WSPY 107.1 (Plano)
WFMB 104.5 FM (Springfield)
Sacred Heart-Griffin games
RESULTS & BOX SCORES
IHSA Softball Page
$6 per day
Classic IHSA Softball Film
HISTORY & RECORDS
2015 3A State Series
2015 4A State Series
Record Book & Past Champions
Play Smart. Play Hard.
#PSPH on Facebook