The Trinity softball team out-slugged Leyden on Saturday to win the Class 4A River Forest Sectional championship.
The Blazers (31-7) defeated the Eagles 12-6 at Triton College to advance to Monday’s supersectional, where they will face Marist in Rosemont.
“Everyone played well today,” said Blazers junior shortstop Abby Ramirez. “It was a complete team win; everyone in the lineup was hitting.”
The Blazers’ big inning came in the fifth where they scored five runs on just three hits. With the score tied 6-6 going into the frame, Ramirez cleared the bases with a single up the middle to score junior Gabrielle Smart, sophomore Alyssa Mafoe, and junior Nicole Evans to give the Blazers the lead.
Junior first baseman Ashley Klauss followed with an RBI single to score Ramirez, and Evans capped the scoring off by reaching on an error by the Eagles’ third baseman. After Ramirez misplayed a ball in the previous inning in which the Eagles scored three runs, she knew she had to make up for it offensively.
“I messed up (in the fourth inning), so I wanted to help (junior pitcher Chase Machain),” said Ramirez. “I didn’t want her to have the pressure all the time, and everyone else followed.”
Ramirez went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, while Klauss also drove in three runs.
Machain pitched a complete game, allowing six runs on eight hits, while striking out four and giving up one walk.
The Blazers took a 3-0 lead in the third inning thanks to a home run ball off the bat of senior third-baseman Taylor Lang that flew over the centerfield fence.
“That was my first home run of the year,” Lang said with a laugh. “I was due, and I wanted to help my team out. It was shocking to me, but I put the bat on the ball and it happened. I never try to hit home runs, and even after my home run today I didn’t have great at-bats. I just hit ground balls and line drives. Whatever gets it done.”
Ramirez is excited to make it to the supersectional and said she knows that her team’s hard work throughout the season has paid off.
“It feels awesome,” she said. “We worked really hard since the beginning of the season. We pushed really hard and to be so close (to getting downstate) is really exciting. And we’re ready.”
The Sun Times reported on Saturday that Leyden coach Kurt Schuett filed a complaint with the IHSA, saying that video shows Trinity’s catcher giving Machain a sign to throw at a Leyden batter on two occasions. In the story, Trinity coach Bob Osborne denies instructing any of his players to throw at a batter. “I’ve never purposely hit a batter in nine years,” Osborne is quoted in the story.