Softball: Sienna Stingley’s record-breaking performance leads Sterling to 12th straight regional title

Stingley strikes out 15, breaks Sterling single-season strikeout record in 5-0 win

The Sterling High School softball team poses after beating Belvidere North 5-0 to win the Class 3A Belvidere North Regional title on Saturday.

BELVIDERE – Sienna Stingley does not think she wears a mean face in the pitcher’s circle, but the reputation is apparently out there.

Travel teammates tell Stingley they don’t know how to read her. Friends at school see her in the hallways and assume she’s mad at them.

And opposing hitters? Why yes, there is an intimidating element to facing the powerful Sterling senior right-hander.

“My teammates always tell me they’re afraid of me when I’m on the mound,” Stingley said. “I have a reputation of being super mean, but I try to keep it clean.”

There is little doubt, though, who is in command when Stingley is on.

Stalking the dirt between the circle and home plate, Stingley excitedly pounds her glove, yells and points to her catcher Marley Sechrest after big outs. Stingley wears her work on her sleeve. And on Saturday, she put in another commanding performance.

Stingley struck out 15, breaking Sterling’s single-season program record in the process. Sterling’s bats came alive to support her, and the Golden Warriors beat Belvidere North 5-0 in the Class 3A Belvidere North Regional final for the program’s 12th straight regional title.

“It’s amazing to continue the legacy here,” Stingley said.

Stingley’s own personal amazing moment came on the first batter of the third inning. Retiring Belvidere North’s McKenna Morrill on a called third strike, Stingley recorded her 259th strikeout of the season, breaking Jayme Eilers’ single-season record from 2018.

Teammates flooded Stingley in the middle of the diamond for a short celebration, and she turned to center field and raised her arms to savor the moment.

“That was amazing. It was everything I wanted and more,” said Stingley, carrying the regional plaque in one hand and strikeout ball in the other. “I’ve been working so hard.”

She went right back to work, striking out the side in the third and recording seven straight outs by strikeout.

When Stingley is out there, Sterling coach Donnie Dittmar knows his team just has to supply her a little support. Her presence permeates all the way to the dugout.

“It sends chills down my spine to here you mention that,” Dittmar said. “Her presence just commands that you’re confident when you’re out here. I’m never uncomfortable making calls over there, I know that she is going to execute it. A tremendous asset for sure.”

Sterling senior Ady Waldschmidt, who had two hits Saturday, has seen it from both sides. With Stingley, she’s now one of three seniors on a young team. But Waldschmidt also had the unfortunate experience facing Stingley before this year while at Newman, which lost in extra innings to Sterling last season.

“I was pretty intimidated. She’s very serious on the mound,” said Waldschmidt, while noting “you’re not supposed to smile at the batter.”

For all of Stingley’s dominance, Sterling (24-5) led just 1-0 through four innings Saturday, on Sechrest’s RBI groundout in the second.

Stingley, perfect through three innings, got in her first and only jam in the fourth. Belvidere North put runners on second and third with one out on a walk and single, and after a strikeout, a second walk loaded the bases.

But Stingley bore down to strike out Paige Johnson.

“I had all the confidence in the world,” Dittmar said. “We do count on her do things like that every time. As long as she hits her spots, we feel pretty good.”

Belvidere North (18-12) freshman pitcher Ava Morris nearly matched Stingley for four innings before the Golden Warriors got to her the third time through.

Layla Wright singled to lead off the Sterling fifth, and after a strikeout, the Golden Warriors touched Morris for five straight singles.

Waldschmidt sliced an opposite-field single to score Wright, Mya Lira singled in Melcher and Lily Martinez singled in Lira to make it 4-0.

“Once we saw her one time through and decided that we needed to lay off her drop ball and her outside pitches, we made changes in the box and attacked her,” Waldschmidt said. “Second time through we were all crushing her.”

Stingley, meanwhile, allowed just one baserunner after the fourth-inning jam. Her 15th strikeout sent Sterling into a Tuesday sectional semifinal at Sycamore against Prairie Ridge, a 6-0 winner over Harvard.

A potential sectional final rematch with Sycamore could be after that, but Dittmar isn’t getting ahead of things.

“We’ve kind of had a motto that we’re going to try to get better every game, work on all the little things we haven’t executed up to this point and keep getting better at them,” he said. “Better at bats, awareness on the bases, alertness. The pitching will be there for us. We have to support that.”

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Joshua  Welge

Joshua Welge

I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.