Softball: JCA’s season ends with 2-0 loss to Beecher in Class 2A JCA Regional title game

Joliet Catholic’s Maddie Patrick connects for a double against Beecher in the Class 2A regional championship on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Lewis University in Romeoville.

ROMEOVILLE — It was a one-woman show Saturday in the championship game of the Class 2A Joliet Catholic Academy Regional at Lewis University.

Beecher sophomore Ava Lorenzatti struck out 17 in the Bobcats’ 2-0 win. Of the four outs that weren’t strikeouts, two were grounders hit back to her in the circle and one was a bunt that she caught in the air. The only out she didn’t have a hand in was a grounder to short in the fourth inning.

For good measure, Lorenzatti went 2 for 4 at the plate and drove in the game’s only two runs with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the second.

All told, she was just too much for JCA to overcome.

“One player beat us,” JCA coach Tina Kinsella said. “We had a game plan on how to attack her. She has a riseball she throws for strikes and she has one that she throws to get you to chase. We let too many strikes go and we chased too many. ... She beat us.”

JCA did have a couple of chances. In the top of the first, Addy Rizzatto was hit by a pitch, then stole second and went to third on a throwing error. Lorenzatti then proceeded to strike out the next two Angel hitters to get out of the inning.

In the third, Maddie Patrick hit a one-out single before stealing second. A hard-hit ball up the middle by Rizzatto hit Lorenzatti’s foot and she recovered in time to throw out Rizzatto, with Patrick reaching third. Another strikeout ended the inning, and no other Angel got past first.

Joliet Catholic’s Nina Sebahar, left, collides with Addie Fanter after making a catch against Beecher in the Class 2A regional championship on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Lewis University in Romeoville.

“We didn’t get the hits when we needed them,” said Madison Patrick, one of six seniors on the JCA club. “It was a good season for us to get to the regional championship. We felt like we could have won, but it wasn’t our day.

“I am proud of this team. We went through a lot. We lost our starting catcher [Wrigley Fanter], and that was hard, but I am proud of the way the sophomore, Emma Mackey, came up and did a good job. Hopefully this loss leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the players who are coming back, but in a good way. I hope they don’t want to feel this way again and they are able to go further than we did.”

Although she didn’t overpower hitters the way Lorenzatti did, JCA pitcher Nina Sebahar matched her nearly pitch for pitch. She allowed just six hits and struck out three, while the Angel defense played errorless ball behind her. Sebahar even survived a collision with third baseman Addie Fanter while catching a popup and stayed in to finish the game.

Joliet Catholic’s Molly Ryan connects for a single against Beecher in the Class 2A regional championship on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Lewis University in Romeoville.

The only runs for Beecher (30-1) came in the bottom of the second. Taylor Norkus led off by getting hit by a pitch, and Alexa Gilva followed with a single. A walk to Emma Tiltges loaded the bases before Sebahar struck out the next hitter and got the one after that to pop to short. That brought up Lorenzatti, who singled through the middle to score both Norkus and Gilva before Sebahar got out of the inning by inducing a grounder back to her.

The Angels, who finished their season with a 17-9 record, got a leadoff walk by Rizzatto in the top of the sixth but could not advance her. Molly Ryan singled with one out in the top of the seventh, but Lorenzatti closed the game out with a pair of strikeouts.

“I will take my six seniors over anyone,” Kinsella said. “Four of those six were up as freshmen when we went to state and they all got to play. They have meant so much to this program. Their leadership at every game and every practice will definitely be missed. The kids coming back have some big shoes to fill, but they have been taught by great role models.

“It’s a bit of a bitter taste, but in a good way. Hopefully this makes us hungrier to get back here next year. It’s a shame we had to play Beecher when we did. I think we are the two best teams in the sectional and we should have been playing for a sectional championship instead of a regional championship, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now, we have to start working hard in order to get back.”