Softball: Yorkville jumps on Waubonsie Valley early in regional rout

Foxes advance to play Oswego in Friday’s regional final

Yorkville's Ellie Fox

OSWEGO – Yorkville sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning, nine more in the second and 10 in the third during Thursday’s Class 4A Oswego Regional semifinal against Waubonsie Valley.

The Foxes only had to send a few to the plate in the following inning as Brooke Ekwinski trotted home on a wild pitch to initiate the mercy rule with no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning as the Foxes overwhelmed the Warriors, 16-1.

“I think coming into this game we kind of knew we had to come out and execute the way we play the game,” Foxes coach Jory Regnier said. “The postseason is for everybody and anything can happen. The girls know that and we just got to come out and play Yorkville softball, honestly, and play the game and have fun while we do it. I think that’s the biggest thing - to remember why you play. You play to have fun and you can’t let the pressure consume you.”

Yorkville (18-17) will be back in action less than 24 hours after beating Waubonsie Valley to battle Oswego (24-9) at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the regional final.

A couple of defensive miscues and three walks helped the Foxes jump ahead 4-0 after one inning.

Ekwinski opened the inning by barely beating out a line drive single off of pitcher Samantha Wiertelak’s leg. After Emmy Judd popped out, Jensen Krantz, Ellie Fox and Regan Bishop all walked to plate the first run. A throwing error down the right field line after a force out at home brought in two more runs and another error allowed Rilee Petrusa to score.

With the early lead, Fox attacked the Warriors hitters, fanning the side in the top of the second.

In the bottom of the second, the left-handed swinging Krantz crushed an offering well over the scoreboard in right field. Hailey Sweeney and Ekwinski had singled to start the rally before Judd crushed a double to center to make it 5-0 and set the stage for Krantz’s sixth blast of the spring.

“That was probably the first no-doubter I’ve hit, to be honest,” Krantz said. “It felt good. I’m more of a line drive hitter so I’ll take what I can get.”

Bishop added a run-scoring double to make it 9-0, sending courtesy runner Sarah Carlson home.

Waubonsie Valley (17-19) finally got to Fox a bit in the top of the third with two outs.

After she retired the first two she faced, leadoff hitter Gia Cobert beat out a soft roller to third base for the Warriors’ first hit.

Fox walked Hannah Laub, the DuPage Valley Conference Player of the Year, to put Cobert in scoring position. She then came home for the Warriors’ only run on shortstop Aislee Morgan’s single to center.

“I felt that one inning I couldn’t let it go back-to-back like that,” Fox said. “I felt like the other innings I was really dominating, but that one inning I just couldn’t let it get to my head.

Fox didn’t allow any hits other than the two in the third inning, walking two overall and striking out four.

“It helped to know I had a cushion like that after the first inning and that I can make mistakes and it’s going to be OK,” she said. “I knew my offense had my back.”

Some of the offense that had her back came from her swinging the bat.

With Sweeney having reached on an error and Judd on a walk, the Foxes had a rally brewing in the bottom of the third, but with two outs and a 1-2 count on Fox, they were a strike away from coming up empty. With one big swing of the bat, Fox made it 12-1, sending a blast over the left field fence.

“She pitched me inside and low and I fouled it off and it went pretty far and then she pitched me high outside and I can’t hit high outside, I’ll be honest,” Fox said. “But then she went back in and low and that’s what I was looking for the whole at bat and that’s my approach every time, so I took advantage of it and hit it out. I knew we had two runners in scoring position and two outs so I had to get runs in.”

Bishop walked and Petrusa singled before Alivia Lathen drove them both in to make it 14-1. Lathen moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and scored on a single to right off the bat of Bella Phillips.

Yorkville lost both games to Oswego during Southwest Prairie Conference play. The Panthers prevailed 4-1 on April 15 and 21-11 on May 9.

“It’s like 0-0 basically now because it’s regionals,” Fox said. “I know they got us twice in conference, but this is where it matters.”

Krantz is ready to battle for an opportunity to play in next Wednesday’s Plainfield North Sectional semifinals.

“Our pitching has been strong this season and our defense has good days and bad days,” she said. “We know they are offensively strong and have a good pitcher, so we’re hoping to keep our defense strong and stay relaxed at the plate and get the job done.”