4A softball: Bridget Faut’s shutout, Morgan Spodarek’s blast carry Lockport to title over Joliet West

Porters proceed to Lincoln-Way Central Sectional semis

Lockport logo

LOCKPORT – At the start of the season, Bridget Faut never expected to be in the circle for the Lockport softball team in a regional championship game.

Not only was the sophomore lefty in the circle, but she fired a four-hit shutout as the Porters blanked Joliet West 3-0 Saturday morning in the championship game of the Class 4A Lockport Regional.

Morgan Spodarek provided the offense, as the senior first baseman banged a three-run home run, and Lockport (27-8) won its 15 in the last 16 games. It was the seventh straight regional title, 24th since 1995 and 29th in school history for the Porters, who will play Andrew on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the second game of the Lincoln-Way Central Sectional.

Joliet West (19-12) fell short in its bid for its first regional title since 2021.

“No, I didn’t, not at all,” Faut said when asked if she ever expected to be in this situation to start the season. “But yeah, coming into today I knew I was going to pitch. I was a little nervous, but I knew that I had to do it.”

Kelcie McGraw, who pitched the Porters to their first sectional title in 18 years last spring, has been the ace of the staff. But Lockport coach Marissa Chovanec had complete trust in Faut.

“Bridget threw a great game,” Chovanec said. “As a sophomore, she’s just gotten more confidence. She beat Lincoln-Way East last week, and that helped her get more confidence, and the kids did a really good job today.”

It was a pitchers’ duel with no score until the bottom of the fifth. But with one out, junior shortstop Mikayla Cvitanovich walked, and senior third baseman Ava Swain followed with a first-pitch single to left.

That brought up Spodarek. The senior first baseman bashed the first pitch she saw into a tree beyond the left-field fence for her team-leading eighth home run of the season.

“I was looking for a low inside pitch, and that’s what she threw,” Spodarek said of the offering from junior Madison Jadron. “I was just trying to get a hit to get the runs in, but, yeah, I knew it was gone. It was amazing. I saw all my team come out to greet me, and it felt really good.

“I’ve been playing with a lot of these girls since seventh grade. We couldn’t go out with a loss on our home field.”

Lockport had left the bases loaded in the fourth. The Tigers had a great opportunity in the top of the fifth with runners at second and third with two outs, but Faut got a pop-foul to end the inning.

Jadron, who along with sophomore second baseman Ella Featherston, had two hits apiece for the Tigers, singled with one out in the seventh. But Faut – who allowed four hits, walked two and struck out four – got a pop-up and a strikeout to end it.

Jadron allowed the three earned runs on six hits to six different players, with three walks and no strikeouts. There were no errors by either team.

“We were anxious at times at the plate,” Joliet West coach Heather Suca said, “but it was a good game, and Lockport is a good team. We graduate six seniors who have been around a long time, and they will be missed.”

Those seniors include Avery Houlihan, who will go on to play at Notre Dame, and Brooke Schwall, who set the school single-season record for homers last year with 14 and followed that up with 11 this season.

“Madison did a great job, and it was a tough loss,” Houlihan said. “It was still a great way to end my career at Joliet West. I love these girls. We won the conference championship again, and it was a great way to finish with them.”

Schwall, a three-sport standout who was named the Female Athlete of the Year at Joliet West, agreed.

“Their pitcher (Faut) was good, she was dealing,” Schwall said. “But we grew as a program. We were out for blood at the start of the year, and we played great. To get those awards was a highlight to my year and showed all the work I put in.”