Manteno pitcher Brooke Stulga already had a 60 mph fastball last season when she put up impressive numbers from the circle and led her team to a 23-6 record.
During the off season she concentrated on lifting weights and doing speed drills, and the result is an extra 3-4 mph on her pitches. Even with the wind blowing out, defending Class 4A state champion and No. 12 Minooka had trouble catching up with Stulga, who pitched her team to a 2-0 win for the No. 18 Panthers (6-0).
Stulga (5-0) ended with a dominant two-hit, seven strikeout outing by striking out the side in the seventh after a check-swing infield hit in the Providence Invite on Friday. The Panthers will play No. 11 Downers North in an 11:00 am semifinal on Saturday.
North was a 2-0 winner over Andrew, while Lockport and Glenbard West also won.
“My pitches were hitting their spots and [catcher] Samantha [Beckwith] called a great game,” Stulga said. “They were a good hitting team and our defense was so solid today -- I think we had one error.”
Meghan Quirk (2-3) gave up two runs on four hits, striking out four for the No. 12 Indians (2-3). Leegan Boudreau’s sacrifice fly scored Kiley Zajdzinski (single) in the third. Zajdzinski reached third after a double by Carly Trapanier. Boudreau (single) scored in the sixth on a passed ball.
Marissa Burns had the other hit for the Indians, while Beckwith added a double in the sixth.
No. 7 Providence lost 2-1 to Glenbard West. Sophomore pitcher Kendal Judge (1-2) gave up two unearned runs, striking out 12 and allowing four hits. The Celtics (1-2) had four hits, including a solo home run by Sarah Brightmore.
The Hilltoppers scored one each in the sixth and seventh innings on an RBI single by Jackie Feliciano and a sacrifice fly by Caylin Potter. Taylor Langtry went the distance, allowed five hits while fanning 10. The Hilltoppers will meet Lockport in the other 11:00 am semifinal on Saturday.
“We have to tighten up our defense and come up with more key hits,” said Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld, whose team made two costly errors. “Kendall has pitched some good games and was a tough luck loser. She keeps giving us games like that we’ll be in good shape.”
Downers North broke a scoreless game with two runs in the sixth behind an RBI double by Dale Ryndak scoring Katie Polaski (bunt single), and a sacrifice fly by Ali Woitovich scoring pinch runner Claire Donahue -- running for Ryndak. That would be all the scoring in the game, with Ryndak (4-0) going seven innings, allowing five hits, while striking out eight for the Trojans (5-0). Kayla Plastiak had two hits, including a double, for the Thunderbolts (3-1).
The Porters improved to 2-0 with a six-inning darkness shortened 5-0 win over Neuqua Valley. Halle Hollatz and Gabby Voulgaris each homered for the Porters, while Justine Cielinski got the victory in the circle.