CARY – The Cary-Grove softball team knew it could not let Barrington take an early lead, no matter how small, in Friday’s Class 4A C-G Regional final.
Little room for error led C-G coach Tammy Olson to replace starting pitcher Amanda De-Groote with Lauren Stanley after top-seeded Barrington started the bottom of the first inning with the first two batters reaching on a hit by pitch and walk.
But the pitching change didn’t faze the Fillies. Jennifer Inamoto hit a three-run homer to give Barrington a 3-0 lead. Barrington added seven runs in the second en route to a 10-0 five-inning win, giving the Fillies (25-11) their 13th consecutive regional title.
“That first inning really set the tone,” C-G senior center fielder Lisa Semro said. “It was hard to come back from that first one. On our side, we didn’t get started right away. ... We knew we had to be on our best game possible.”
Fillies junior pitcher Keenan Dolezal (24-9) held the Trojans (19-13) to one hit, Caitlin Adams’ single to lead off the fourth. The Trojans failed to advance Adams with the next three batters, though Brianne Prank’s fly ball came close before it was caught on the center field warning track.
Inamoto finished with five RBIs for Barrington. C-G had three players reach base, including a walk and hit by pitch.
The second-seeded Trojans used three different pitchers. Caroline Zasadil, C-G’s third pitcher of the game, threw 32/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits.
“All decisions when you pull players are tough,” Olson said. “You don’t want to do that. You believe in them, and they’ve got to keep going and prove they’ve earned that right. Amanda took us through the season and did a good job with that. It’s about being ready for that.”
The loss ends the career for C-G’s six seniors, including four-year players Semro, Jaime Deering and Amy Clemment and three-year player Sarah Kendeigh. During the past four seasons, C-G went 96-28.
“The Cary-Grove chemistry is crazy,” Deering said. “Everyone, the community, the team is so built in to the Cary-Grove tradition. It’s amazing.”