SOMONAUK — The start of their own Class 1A regional for the Somonauk Lady Bobcats was somewhat slow and plodding through four innings of play against the Indian Creek Timberwolves.
But the final two stanzas for the No. 1-seeded Lady Bobcats turned out to be fast and furious, leading the hosts to a healthy 9-1 regional semifinal victory over the No. 7- seeded Timberwolves on Wednesday here at Somonauk High School.
The Lady Bobcats could muster only two runs on eight hits during the first four frames, but from there they ratcheted things up in the fifth and the sixth by pounding out seven runs on nine safeties.
All in all Somonauk — the No. 5-ranked club in the final Illinois Coaches Association Class 1A Poll — produced 17 hits, six of which resulted from small-ball style bunt singles as the Lady Bobcat hit parade marched to victory without the help of one extra-base knock.
Senior Sydni Frederick led the onslaught, going 4-for-4 at the plate with four runs batted in. Senior teammates Jessica Christiansen and Avery Sexton each enjoyed three hits apiece as did freshman Katy Tripp. Senior Taylor Fall went 2-for-4 at the dish while also registering the pitching win by throwing all seven innings and allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out eight to up her record in the circle to a sparkling 21-4.
Somonauk (25-5) now advance to its fifth consecutive regional championship contest Saturday morning at 11 a.m. against either No. 3 seed Earlville-Leland or No. 5-seeded Amboy. Those ballclubs will battle Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
"Our slappers did a good job today, we hit the ball well, and we ended up pretty strong in this one after a pretty slow start," said SHS coach Scott Siuda. "I cost us a couple of runs sending some girls I shouldn't have and ran us out of a couple innings, but overall I'm pretty proud of what the girls did, and it was a nice way to start the postseason."
Indian Creek (14-10) ended its year by recording just three hits off the bats of Jade Milostan, Hailey Hermann and Mary Todd. The Timberwolves held tough before Somonauk finally turned things up a few notches.
"That's one heck of a hitting team," said ICHS coach Jeremy Lowe. "I figured they'd be doing a little small-ball on us, but our girls hung in there with a very tough ballclub."
The Lady Bobcats tallied their first run in the bottom of the second off IC starting and losing pitcher Jesika Lowe (7 IP, 6 ER, 17 H, 0 BB, 1 K). Frederick registered her first hit on an infield single, then stole second and eventually tallied on Christiansen's RBI base hit to left that put Somonauk up 1-0 after two.
Another single marker followed in the third when Tripp reached on a bunt single, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and plated after Claire Lamb's sacrifice fly to right that put the Lady Bobcats up 2-0.
Fall retired the first nine batters she faced before the Timberwolves scored their only run in the top of the fourth on an RBI single from Hermann that cut the gap to 2-1. But Somonauk cranked out three runs and five hits in the fifth to go ahead 5-1. Fall had an RBI base hit in the rally, while Frederick added her first two-run single.
"Obviously, starting the playoffs, this was a big game today, and I knew I had to pick it up," Frederick said. "We started slowly and I knew those two runs would be important to get home, so I just concentrated on putting the ball in play."
Four more runs ensued in the sixth after four more hits to end the day's scoring. Tripp notched a squeeze bunt RBI, while Frederick stroked her second two-run single to right. All that was left was for Fall to shut the door by starting a nifty 1-6-3 double play that closed out the win in style.
"We've been waiting for a double play like that all year, so it was nice to be able to end the game like that," Fall said. "Now we've got to go again Saturday and get the job done in the regional championship."
Somonauk 9, Indian Creek 1
IC (1) — Milostan cf 3-0-1-0, Lowe p 3-1-0-0, Johanningsmeier c 3-0-0-0, Hermann ss 3-0-1-1, Stambaugh 2b 3-0-0-0, Todd 3b 3-0-1-0, Probst 1b 3-0-0-0, Jordal dp 3-0-0-0, Sbarbaro lf 2-0-0-0, Standard rf 0-0-0-0. Totals 26-1-3-1.
SOMONAUK (9) — Christiansen cf 4-1-3-1, Peritore ss 4-1-1-0, Fall p 4-0-2-1, Kulton cr 0-2-0-0, Tripp dp 4-3-3-1, Lamb 3b 3-1-1-1, Zimmerman c 3-0-0-0, Sexton lf 4-0-3-0, Frederick 1b 4-1-4-4, Salgado rf 3-0-0-0, Kawall 2b 0-0-0-0. Totals 33-9-17-8.
IC (14-10) 000 100 0 —135
Somonauk (25-5) 011 034 x —9 172
LOB – IC 4; Somonauk 8. SB – Peritore, Tripp, Frederick. CS – Christiansen, Kulton. SAC – Zimmerman. SF – Lamb.
Indian Creek ip r er h bb k
Lowe (L) 6.0 9 6 17 0 1
Fall (W, 21-4) 7.0 1 1 3 0 8