Softball claims regional title in heavy-hitting contest

Freshman catcher Alina Bonior tags out a BCC runner at home. The team won the regional championship defeating BCC 13-10 on Wed, May 17.

The WJ softball team beat the BCC Barons 13-10 on Wednesday, May 17, clinching their first regional title since 2021. In a game full of hits and runs, WJ starting pitcher junior Sami Rosenberg was able to pull out the win in the top of the seventh inning.

WJ opened up scoring with a run in the second inning by sophomore Lydia Stelnyk before racing to an 8-0 lead by the bottom of the fourth. In the top of the fifth inning, WJ gave up six runs, leaving the score 8-6, before a bases-clearing triple by Ella Reynolds in the bottom of the fifth gave the Wildcats more insurance. Freshman Elizabeth Borrisow also pinch-ran for senior Brooke Levin, scoring another run. Entering the top of the seventh inning, WJ held a 13-9 lead. Following a strikeout by Rosenberg, an RBI double brought the score to 13-10 before freshman catcher Alina Bonior tagged out a BCC runner at home and a force out at first brought home the region championship for WJ.

“It was crazy, I was so stressed, the last couple of innings because they had a bunch of good hits, but overall we played really good. I think we did really well in the field … it was a solid team win,” Reynolds said.

Despite giving up 10 runs in the final three innings, Rosenberg was able to pitch a complete game, striking out six batters.

“I think [my pitching] was pretty good in the beginning but it got a little dicey in the end, I got a little tired, I did get a little shaky, but it’s okay,” Rosenberg said.
Offensively, senior captain Brooke Levin and junior outfielder Mackenzie Norris each went 3 for 4 at the plate, while freshmen infielders Ella Reynolds and Addie Strbak each scored three runs for the team. Levin, Reynolds and Rosenberg all had two RBIs.

The Wildcats reached the final after receiving a bye and defeating Churchill 7-3 on Monday, May 15 in the regional semifinal. Starting pitcher Rosenberg and Reynolds each scored 3 runs, while Strbak scored the other run. While Churchill sophomore pitcher Maggie King got 12 strikeouts, the Wildcats stood level with Churchill at 2-2 until the fifth inning, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. They closed out the game with 2 runs in the bottom of the sixth while pitching from Rosenberg held the Bulldogs to 3 runs. Rosenberg picked up 5 strikeouts of 34 batters faced.

Second-seeded BCC also received a bye in the region quarterfinal and then beat sixth-seeded Richard Montgomery 11-3 to advance to the region final. The Wildcats had narrowly beaten BCC in the regular season, getting a walk-off comeback win in the bottom of the seventh inning. At the start of the inning, WJ trailed 7-5 before scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh, with the game-winning run by Carly Gilder bringing home the game 8-7.

Entering the final, each of the teams had some of the most offensive hitting in the county.

“We scored enough runs to win against a very good offensive team … BCC we knew was gonna push us to the limit and we just kept going … we were able to just outlast them, it was really just a heavyweight fight between two great teams,” head coach Richard Carter said.

The team earned the number four seed in the re-seeded state tournament and next faced off against Urbana in the state quarterfinal.