SOFTBALL: St. Bede slugs its way into sectional final

St. Bede’s Gianna Elias (No. 18) and Hayley Short round the bases on Short’s three-run home run — her third of the game — during the Lady Bruins’ 10-3 victory over Newark in a Class 1A Indian Creek Sectional semifinal Wednesday in Shabbona.

SHABBONA — A monster day in the circle for Abbie May and at the plate for Hayley Short propelled the St. Bede softball team to a 10-3 victory in a Class 1A Indian Creek Sectional semifinal Wednesday in Shabbona.

“Abbie (May) and Shorty (Hayley Short) just had huge days for us,” St. Bede coach Rob Ruppert said. “Back-to-back games with 17 strikeouts and then three big home runs for Shorty. But not just those two — we hit up and down the lineup and were aggressive.”

The Lady Bruins (18-9) advance to face rival Marquette (22-5) in the sectional championship at 4:30 p.m. today. The game was moved up from Friday due to forecasted inclement weather.

The Lady Crusaders advanced with a 13-0, five-inning win over Grant Park on Tuesday.

“I had to make some adjustments with the wind,” May said. “We didn’t get a chance to play Marquette (during the regular season) because of rain, but this should be fun. It’s always a great game and we have a scouting report on them so we’ll see what happens.”

May gave up a wind-aided single to start the game and then quickly struck out the next three batters.

The Lady Bruins threatened in the first two innings but could not get any runs across home plate.

But May kept the Lady Norseman at bay by striking out eight batters in a row.

In the bottom of the third, the Lady Bruins’ bats came alive.

Short started things out with a two-out solo home run over the left field fence for a 1-0 advantage.

Ellyn Nowakowski reached on an error before May reached on a fielder’s choice.

That brought up Marissa Boehm, who crushed a three-run shot over the scoreboard in left field to put the Bruins up 4-0 after three innings.

Newark wasn’t going to go quietly as it responded in the top of the fourth.

Naomi Sweeney doubled into the right field gap to set up Jocelyn Mitchell, who cut the deficit in half with a two-run blast off the scoreboard to make it 4-2.

That’s where the score remained until the bottom of the fifth when Short led off with another solo shot to center field to put the Lady Bruins ahead 5-2.

May continued to dominate in the circle until the Lady Bruins put the game away with five runs in the sixth.

Charliegh Holmes continued her solid game with a single to left and Maggie Sons followed with a single to center.

Claire Morrow put down a bunt and reached on an error, which also allowed pinch runner Caroline Moskalewicz to score and extend the lead to 6-2.

Gianna Elias then hit a bloop RBI single to center that scored Sons to push the lead to 7-2.

With first base open, Newark elected to pitch to Short instead of the intentional walk and she made them pay with a towering three-run home run to center for a 10-2 lead.

“Three home runs is definitely a career high for me,” Short said. “I was having so much fun. I was laughing going around the bases. It was a great game for us and now we get to play Marquette.”

Newark got a pair of hits in the seventh and a sacrifice fly from Lexi Long, but as she had so many times before, May got the strikeout for the final out of the game.

For the game, Short was 4-for-4 with five RBIs, while Elias had two hits and Boehm had three RBIs.

Brad Martin Sr. can be reached at 220-6939 or sports@newstrib.com.

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