BURBANK | Try as they did, Thornton Fractional South's softball team was unable to break Marist's pesky defense Wednesday afternoon, nor solve RedHawk pitcher Audra Hecker's off-speed pitches.
The error-free RedHawks managed three force-play putouts and threw a Rebel runner out at the plate, while racking up 14 hits of their own as part of their 10-0 six-inning victory over the Rebels in the Class 4A Reavis Regional semifinal game at Reavis High School.
The Sandburg Sectional's 12th-seeded Rebels close out their season with an 11-20 record, while while the sixth-seeded RedHawks (21-15) advance to face third-seeded Lincoln-Way East on Saturday in the regional championship game at Reavis High School.
"They were hitting off me pretty good," Rebel junior pitcher Courtney Stone said of the defeat. "I tried to move the ball around on them, but no matter where I put it, they seemed to be able to hit it."
The first four RedHawk batters of Wednesday's game reached base as part of a four-run bottom of the first inning. The RedHawks put runners on base in every inning except the fifth inning, and closed out the inning-shortened victory when Nicole Babrowski's infield single managed to drive in the final two runs of the game.
"We believe that on any given day, any team can win," RedHawks coach Denise Brombereck said. "Our kids came out fired up today, and the score reflected that."
The Rebels best chance to score came in the fifth inning, when Marissa Foster and Bre Heintz opened the frame with a pair of singles. A bunt attempt along the third-base line by Callie Beck resulted in a force play putout at third base by shortstop Brooke Wyderski, however, and RedHawk center fielder Brooke Wilson threw out Heintz at the plate as she attempted to score off a Jessica Maricich single. Hecker then struck out Cori Reynolds to preserve the shutout.
Foster led the Rebels with two of the Rebels five hits Wednesday. Wilson had four hits and an RBI for the RedHawks, while teammates Haly Richy and Babrowski each contributed two RBIs for Marist.
Hecker earned the complete-game win for the RedHawks. She struck out three batters and walked two. It was the RedHawks' third shutout win of the season.