HAMMOND | River Forest sent 17 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring 11 runs en route to a 16-1 five-inning victory against Bowman Academy on Thursday in the Class 2A Bishop Noll Sectional.
Itzel Nunez led the Ingots' inning with a double, two RBIs, a run scored and a walk. She had four RBIs and two hits on the day to lead the team.
"After the season we've had, it's always good to go into the tournament where it means something, it counts, and get that first win," River Forest coach Austin Robison said. "The girls are excited about it, and I think it's only going to help for tomorrow night."
Bowman was playing in its ninth game of the season, and broke through in the seventh inning to score a run and erase the shutout.
"It was just tough," Bowman coach Natalie Fusner said. "These girls work hard, and that's all I can ask of them."
The Ingots' win sets up a sectional championship showdown with rival Lake Station tonight at 5 p.m. at Bishop Noll.
"It's a big rivalry," Robison said. "I'm excited. The kids are excited. We always seem to get the best results out of our kids when we're playing Lake Station. It's just that feeling of rivalry. Most of our girls know most of their girls and they play together all summer."
Lake Station beat Whiting 3-2 on Monday, and upset Wheeler 2-0 Wednesday to make it to the championship game. River Forest and Bowman both drew byes and were playing in their first game of the sectional.
"When we found out our possible sectional opponent would be Lake Station, our girls were more than excited, and you could see a fight in their eyes ready to go," Robison said.
Lake Station beat River Forest both times during the regular season, winning 14-3 at River Forest on April 19, and 11-1 at home on May 9.
"I'm not worried about the score getting away from us tomorrow," Robison said. "Our girls are going to fight."