LAKE STATION | First-year Bishop Noll softball coach Rich Sobilo found himself muttering in the dugout when his team was on defense during Thursday’s Class 2A Lake Station Sectional championship.
Each time a Boone Grove hitter tried the right side of the infield, Sobilo said to himself, “Hit it there all you want.”
The remarkable glove of freshman Brittany Anderson gave Sobilo all the confidence he needed that a hit to the right was as sure an out as could be.
Anderson made several high-quality grabs from second base, and as usual the only thing that eclipsed her fielding was her hitting.
Anderson broke open a close game with a three-run home run to right field. It came two batters after three Boone players botched a fly ball that would have been the third out of the fourth inning. Noll rode the big inning to a 6-1 win over the Wolves and their first sectional title since 2006.
Anderson’s second homer of the sectional started as a faked bunt attempt before she pulled back quickly to connect on a full swing.
“I was looking for a hard base hit, a gap shot, a hard line drive, but, I mean, I’ll take it,” Anderson said. “In the field, putting in work in practice has really paid off, and I just gave it 110 percent.”
Anderson’s incredible freshman run now includes a state title game appearance in volleyball, a sectional title in basketball and another championship this week.
“I didn’t think, ‘We’re coming out to win another sectional championship,’” Anderson said. “But looking back at it, as a freshman, to win three sectionals in three varsity sports, really, we want more. Regionals are next, and this is the past now.”
Erin Mullaney, Cynthia Melero and Elena Sobilo played volleyball, basketball and softball as well. Sobilo did not play this week after twisting her knee during a pickup volleyball game.
The Warriors (22-6) host Greater South Shore Conference foe North Newton in Tuesday’s regional.
Thursday’s game was scoreless for two innings before Boone Grove pitcher Amanda Hawrot sacrificed to Noll’s pitcher and scored Kayla Harretos in the top of the third.
Noll bounced right back with Monica Martin’s two-run home run to center field, scoring Anderson who was on second but did not signal left or right for the pitch location.
“It was straight down the middle, I just swung, and it was gone,” Martin said. “We’re really excited we are going this far.”
With two outs in the fourth, Noll’s Rachel Sherbondy lofted a ball that landed between the gathering left fielder, center fielder and shortstop. Victoria Keilman scored from first on the play, and Sherbondy scored on the Anderson homer.
“Give Noll credit, they took advantage of one of our mistakes, and that’s what good teams do,” Wolves coach Ron Saunders said. “You can’t give a good team outs.”
Undaunted, Boone (22-5), which starts five freshmen and two sophomores, loaded the bases the very next inning but couldn’t scratch any runs across against Noll freshman hurler Ashley Gordish (11-4), who struck out five and scattered seven hits.
Hawrot (13-4), who helped Boone win the PCC regular-season and tournament crowns together in the same year for the first time, struck out 10 in the loss
“Boone Grove is going to be tough to beat moving ahead,” Rich Sobilo said. “We are just playing our best softball right now.”