If patience is a virtue, Joliet West hitters are in the right place.
The key to beating Plainfield Central freshman pitcher Brooklyn Daly is not to let her get you out of the zone. The No. 11 Tigers didn't budge, drawing five walks in three innings before she was lifted in the top of the third with a runner on and nobody out.
Add eight hits to the mix and the Tigers cruised to an 11-1 six-inning Class 4A Andrew Sectional semifinal win. They'll meet the winner of the other semifinal between Lockport and Lincoln-Way East on Saturday to decide the sectional title.
The Tigers (30-7) are 4-0 against the two teams during the regular season.
"I didn't expect to run-rule them," Joliet West coach Heather Suca said. "They can hit and luckily we scattered their nine hits. We took the walks, got runners on and got the key hits when we needed it."
One of those hits was a grand slam by Lorelei Tokarczyk in the fourth inning that increased the lead to 10-1. Tokarczyk was 2-for-4 with four RBI. The slam was her sixth home run of the season. She collected a walkoff RBI single in the sixth to end the game.
"I wasn't thinking and just hit the ball," Tokarczyk said. "They are a good team that hits well and we just got a hold of their pitchers."
Pitching a bend-but-not-break game was Kiley Robb, who stranded eight runners, struck out two and didn't issue a walk. She was also 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and an RBI. Julia Liceaga had an RBI single in the four-run third and walked twice. Alyssa Rodriquez added a double for the Tigers.
Alison Mangino, Gretchen Egly and Tara Cannella each had two hits for the Wildcats (22-14).
"It's easier to pitch when you have those runs behind you," Robb said. "We can't take our opponent lightly on Saturday just because we beat them each twice. We have to come ready to play."