Bulldogs win fourth straight regional title

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By CHRIS PUMMER

The Riverside-Brookfield softball team faced little resistance as it steamrolled to a fourth straight regional title last week in the Class AA postseason tournament.

The Bulldogs, now the winners of nine straight, beat De La Salle 11-1 in five innings in Saturday's regional. That came after a 14-1 five-inning win against Tilden in May 24th's playoff opener.

RB scored 10 runs in the first inning of both games, which gave Bulldogs coach Dan Hull the chance to find playing time for all 19 of the players on his roster.

"It was real nice to play everyone and get some of the younger kids some playoff experience," he said. "The lead was also nice against De La Salle, because if we didn't get something going early, they could have hung around with us. But when we got ahead early, it sort of broke their spirit."

Joanne Casteldo and Kristy Brewer walked and scored the final two runs in the fifth inning of Saturday's game. Alison Milani chipped in four RBIs, Sam Pozzie knocked out three hits and scored three runs, and Sam Maas (19-5) picked up wins in both games after throwing three innings in each. Emma Forsberg came in to finish both games.

There were no surprises or upsets last week in the Morton Sectional. The top four seeds all advanced out of their respective regionals, and in a very stratified sectional, the Bulldogs own the distinction of being the only one of those four teams that didn't receive a first-round forfeit.

RB will now take on Lyons Township in today's Morton Sectional semifinal, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The Bulldogs beat the third-seeded Lions 10-3 earlier this season, but are expecting a much closer game this afternoon.

LT won its own regional with a 2-0 win Saturday over Nazareth Academy.

It was LT that knocked off a top-seeded RB team 3-0 last year in the sectional final, despite the fact that the Bulldogs had won the regular-season meeting that year as well.

"It just goes to show you that earlier game doesn't mean much," Hull said. "In the playoffs, especially at this level, anything can happen. All four teams left in the sectional are on the same level and any of the four could make it. It could all come down to who gets a break and who's playing hot at the time."

Queen of Peace and Morton will play Thursday in the other sectional semifinal. The final will be played at 11 a.m. this Saturday.

While RB would like to claim its first-ever sectional title, win or lose this week, Hull thinks his squad should be satisfied with the success it's already enjoyed.

"We've proven we can play with anyone," he said. "And a lot of coaches and players would love to trade for our record this season (26-7). So this has been a very good year for us, and I think we can keep going. We're just going to go out and play."

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