Among the elite

OPRF baseball and softball teams advance to Class AA State tournament

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By BRAD SPENCER

Softball
East Peoria will soon welcome the Oak Park and River Forest softball program to town yet again, as the Huskies earned their fourth consecutive trip downstate for the IHSA Class AA State Softball tournament with a 3-1 victory over Glenbrook North in their own super-sectional on Monday.

OPRF (32-6) took a 3-0 lead by the third inning and never looked back. Seana Stillson (9-1) allowed just five hits and a walk in seven innings. The freshman hurler struck out four.

Jessica Rigas' squeeze bunt in the
third inning forced a Glenbrook North throwing error that scored Stephanie Bernthal and Samantha Pehlke. It was Rigas who drove in Pehlke with a single in the first inning.

The Huskies' first round opponent at the State tournament on Friday (Noon) at EastSide Centre in East Peoria will be Harlem (21-14), who upset Glenbard North 1-0 in the Northern Illinois University Super-sectional championship on Monday. The Machesney Park team that holds the same nickname as OPRF boasts a top pitcher in Mandi Andrews, who allowed just four hits and fanned 10 in the win over Glenbard North.

The Huskies routed cross-town rival Fenwick for the second straight time this season with a 7-1 win in the St. Ignatius Sectional championship at UIC on Saturday. OPRF had already shutout the Friars (12-21) 8-0 in a previous meeting between the two clubs earlier in the season, and the Huskies' dominance hadn't seemed to let up.

Stillson notched her eighth win of the season and Kealan Waldron drove in two RBIs for the Huskies. Erika Rosenwinkel finished with two hits, two runs and an RBI, while Bernthal scored twice for OPRF and had a double.

Leading up to the win over Fenwick, the Huskies thrashed Elmwood Park 10-0 in six innings in the semifinals. Mia Zinni had two RBIs in the win and Bernthal went 3-for-5 with one run batted in.

OPRF, which has advanced to the State tournament seven times since 1991, finished runner-up last year after a disappointing loss to Lockport. The Huskies held an early six-run lead before the Porters rallied to win 8-6. A win over Harlem could pit OPRF up against Lockport in the semifinals on Saturday.

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