Softball: Sophie Stone, Fenwick finish off best-ever state finish, take third in Class 3A

Friars’ senior strikes out 10 in five innings of relief, Fenwick beats Waterloo 4-2

The Fenwick softball team poses with third-place trophy after beating Waterloo in the Class 3A third-place game on Saturday in Peoria.

PEORIA – Sophie Stone didn’t start the Class 3A third-place game for Fenwick. But the senior pitcher was glad to have a hand in ending it.

Stone fired the last five innings to get the win as the Friars defeated Waterloo 4-2 to capture third place in the Class 3A state tournament June 8 at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria.

Fenwick (18-9) was making only its second state finals appearance and came away with the highest finish in school history. The Friars were fourth in Class AA in 1998. Waterloo (28-8) also was making its second state appearance and first since a Class A appearance in 1989.

“Me and [senior] Maddie Entler came here to the state tournament last year to watch OPRF since we have travel teammates that played on that team,” Stone said of coming to the Class 4A state tournament last year to watch Oak Park-River Forest. “So this started as a dream for us then and I honestly didn’t expect it. But we did it.”

They rebounded from a 10-0, five-inning loss to state champion Pontiac in the semifinals June 7.

Jordan Rossi got the start in the circle for Fenwick. The freshman righty allowed no runs, five hits and no walks and struck out two in two innings. She gave way to Sone, who allowed two earned runs on three hits with six walks and 10 strikeouts, including a strikeout to end the game and strand a runner at third.

“It’s always awesome to fully end the game yourself,” Stone said. “In the regular season, I came in late more often and preferred closing. But I had a hand in every postseason game.”

The Friars had five of their six hits and scored all their runs in the bottom of the third. Junior center fielder Gabriella Simon (2-for-3) led off with a double and scored on an RBI single by freshman shortstop Bella Bigham. Entler, who plays third, had an RBI double, and junior right fielder Leah Lowery and junior second baseman Teresa Nevarez added RBI singles.

“I really think it switched the momentum of the game,” Simon said of getting the double and scoring. “It just lifted our spirits up and we needed it.”

After being on the varsity as a freshman, Simon didn’t come out for the team last year.

“I’m glad I came back,” Simon said, citing the return of Valerie Jisa as head coach this year. “Our conference [GCAC] helped prepare us for this and it was exciting.”

Sophomore shortstop Samantha Juelfs was 2-for-3 and sophomore first baseman Aidan Dintelman and freshman second baseman Ava Brown had RBIs for the Bulldogs, who scored a run in the sixth and the seventh but stranded 11 runners.

“I’ve been having goosebumps the entire season and the girls have made me proud the entire way,” Jisa said. “We have a solid defense but yesterday we made a lot of errors. We prepared them the same for today. We told them that they just have to believe and trust themselves and they did.”

Randy Whalen

Randy Whalen - Shaw Local News Network Correspondent

Randy Whalen is a contributing reporter to Shaw Local, covering high school sports in Will County