Leadoff batter Brooklyn Bane walked on four pitches to start Saturday’s Normal Community Class 4A Sectional championship game. No. 2 hitter Ellie Sonetz had no interest in walking when she dug in against O’Fallon High School pitcher Addie Barnouski.
“She’d already pitched four balls, so I figured it was going to be close … somewhere around the plate,” Sonetz said.
The Normal West senior drove the first pitch from Barnouski over the right-fielder’s head for a run-scoring triple. The quick strike was all West pitcher Reganne Camp needed, though Sonetz and the Wildcats didn’t let up in a 7-0 victory.
Sonetz had four of West’s 11 hits and Camp pitched her second straight one-hitter to send the Wildcats to Monday’s super-sectional against Lincoln-Way East at Illinois State’s Marian Kneer Stadium.
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Camp, a Seton Hall recruit, struck out 12, walked one and retired five of the final six batters on strikes.
“Reganne is very determined. She wants to go as far as we can go so she’s leading this team,” West coach April Schermann said. “We have a bunch of players who are right there with her.
“I think the whole game we felt comfortable. My senior class has been here before. When they were freshmen we made it to the super-sectional. They came out and played like veterans who have been here before.”
Sonetz also scored in the first inning on a two-out wild pitch, making it 2-0 before Camp got in the circle. The right-hander struck out the side in the bottom of the inning and only a one-out single in the fourth by Allison Underwood kept her from a no-hitter.
“They played a great game. They had a good drop ball pitcher, which we haven’t seen this season,” O’Fallon coach Kelly Paproth said. “That’s not making excuses. We should have been able to come out and hit, but we didn’t. They played a better game and they won.”
West (27-9) threatened in the third and fourth against Barnouski, but in both innings failed to score after loading the bases with no outs.
Camp kept the faith.
“We knew to just keep going … that if we keep knocking someone’s going to answer,” she said.
The Wildcats added two in the fifth on an RBI double by Greta Witter and a run-scoring single by Olivia Sonetz, Ellie’s sophomore sister. The lead grew to 7-0 in the sixth on Camp’s RBI single and Amanda Rogers’ two-run triple.
Camp then struck out the side in the sixth and set down the Panthers in order in the seventh.
“We can always trust Reganne to get it done,” said Ellie Sonetz, whose 4-for-5 day included a double and a triple. “I haven’t been hitting that well recently, but everyone has contributed. We go one pitch at a time … just concentrate on that one thing, get it done and then move on. We can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
O’Fallon (21-8) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit in the sectional semifinal against Edwardsville to win 9-5. So when it was still 2-0 heading to the fifth, the Panthers had hope.
“We weren’t discouraged at all (at 2-0). We knew we could come back,” Paproth said. “We just didn’t do enough today. We didn’t play our best, but the girls kept battling like they’ve done all season. I’m proud of the group of girls I have.”
Barnouski (17-4) struck out four and walked three. Olivia Sonetz had two hits for West, which put a runner on base in every inning.
“We went and scouted them (Wednesday) and we knew they were going to be tough competition,” Camp said. “We just came out like we normally do. We have great momentum.”