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This time, there wasn’t any need for late-inning heroics by OPRF. Reversing the script of their dramatic 6-5 sectional championship win against Fenwick, in which the Huskies rallied from a 3-0 deficit, host OPRF scored four runs in the first inning en route to a 9-0 Super-Sectional title clinching victory over Queen of Peace on Tuesday.

“We were down 3-0 against Fenwick, and it was horrible,” OPRF outfielder Alex Morocco said. “We definitely didn’t want a repeat of that game. Our pitching is always strong for us, but we had to come out with a greater intensity.”

With two outs in the first, Lauren Gonzalez (2-for-4, two RBI) and Mary Zinni (1-for-3, RBI) smacked consecutive run-producing hits to stake the Huskies to a 4-0 lead. In the fourth, Mattie Prodanovic (2-for-3, two RBI, two runs scored) and Mara Blesoff (1-for-3, two RBI) stroked a double and single, respectively, to chase home 3 more runs for OPRF. Morocco, who will play softball at De Paul next season, went 4-for-5.

On the mound, Huskies ace Seana Stillson threw a complete game four-hitter while striking out eight.

“I always try to hold down the other team, but the run support is always nice,” Stillson said. “Our hitters did a phenomenal job.”

Offensively, the Huskies collected 13 hits and three stolen bases against the Pride.

“I thought we played one of our better games of the year,” OPRF coach Mel Kolbusz said. “Everything clicked for us.”

OPRF (33-6) advances to the Elite Eight of the Class AA IHSA State tournament for the sixth consecutive time in search of a second state title in three years.

The Huskies play Edwardsville Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria.

“Any team that we face is going to be tough,” said Kolbusz. “If we can put everything together, we’ll have a good shot.”

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...