EAST DUNDEE – In the Westminster Christian Regional semifinals, the Hiawatha softball team scored early and often en route to a 21-3 win in five innings over Christian Life on Tuesday afternoon at East Dundee Jockey Field.
“They played as a unit today. They did a great job. They all stuck together ,and they all hit the ball,” Hiawatha head coach David Tamraz said. “We did our basics today.”
Hiawatha’s Alexis Ross earned the win in four innings of work.
The freshman struck out four Eagles, while allowing three runs on three hits. Madison Marshall closed out the game in the fifth inning.
The Hawks’ (7-15) first five batters of the game reached base. Haley Zuberbier’s triple was the big hit of the first inning, which saw the Hawks plate four runs.
The Eagles cut the lead in the top half of the second inning, but Hiawatha ended up putting the game out of reach. The Hawks batted around in the bottom of the second and scored 10 runs.
“It’s regionals and you have to take it seriously,” Tamraz said. “You just never know. Nothing against Rockford Christian, they did their best today.”
Ross and Dawn Failla each scored twice in the inning, while Zuberbier had a single and a double to go along with her first-inning triple. Presley Fisher smacked a double in her only at-bat of the rally. Getting those runs early helped Ross settle into the game.
“That helps a lot,” Ross said. “We did very good overall, I’d say. It’s been a tough season, but it went well.”
Hiawatha tacked on seven more runs in the third inning. Errors and walks by Christian Life hurt the Eagles throughout the contest. The Hawks took advantage of those mistakes by taking extra bases and being aggressive.
The Hawks will look to win their second straight softball regional at 11 a.m. Saturday. Hiawatha will play the winner between Westminster Christian Alden-Hebron, whose game was suspended Tuesday because of a lightning delay. That game will continue at 4:30 p.m. today.
The game will resume in the bottom of the third with A-H batting with one out and a runner on second while holding a 2-1 lead.
With the way the A-H Giants were playing, they would have relished the chance to finish the game Tuesday.
After Westminster took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a ground out to shortstop that allowed the runner from third to score, A-H quickly erased the lead. Leadoff hitter Madi Brown reached base and scored on Emily Cunningham’s squeeze bunt.
Warriors pitcher Rachel Fugiel couldn’t throw home in time to get Brown.
The Giants added another run in the first on Hannah Behrens’ infield RBI single, and she advanced to second on a throwing error. Giants starting pitcher Kasandra Clauss shut down the Warriors in the second and third innings, aided by a nice double play at first base from Behrens to end the top of the third.
“I have been preaching to the girls, winning back-to-back regionals would be phenomenal – for the school and for the girls that played last year,” Tamraz said. “It would be phenomenal for them.”
• Meghan Montemurro contributed to this report.