While the moral victory note comes with Marengo’s defeat of arch-rival Sterling, for the second time this season, the main story is the number of games left to the IHSA Class 3A championship game can be counted on one hand. The Indians (31-6) now head into a June 1 matchup against the Kaneland Knights, which bumped off Belvidere 10-5, for the Sterling Sectional crown.

The Marengo varsity softball team’s troubles with the Sterling Golden Warriors, prior to the May 30 game, included elimination in the sectional final last season, and twice in three seasons before that. The Indians dodged them in 2015, advancing to the state final. In 2016, Marengo walked off with a 7-1 victory in an Apr. 14 game, and then, faced them in the sectional semi-final.

Coming into the game, Sterling pitcher Jaime Eilers had struck out all fifteen batters in a five-inning contest, while Marengo countered with Marian Dionne. Both pitchers threw hard, with Eilers hitting two batters, and Dionne hitting one, and the pitching lines said everything. The Indians had only three hits, and Sterling got four hits.

The difference was the Indians’ Hannah Ritter socking a home run in the third inning, her third of the year, and Lauren Aubry connecting on a first-pitch homer in the fifth inning. Megan Anthony picked up a single in the second inning, for the team’s third hit. Dionne struck out seven, with no walks, to earn the shutout victory.

In getting to the sectional, the Indians added a regional title to their season’s accomplishments, giving them eleven consecutive regional wins. Marengo did it in dramatic fashion, taking the May 27 championship round against Marian Central in a nine-inning, 5-1 win. Hurricanes’ pitcher, Maddie Peters, had no-hit Marengo through six innings, walking one batter, and a runner reaching base on an error.

In the seventh, Marengo pitcher Dionne hit her 16th home run to tie the score, 1-1. The game went into extra frames, with Dionne tossing all the way, garnering seven strikeouts. The ninth inning saw the Indians load the bases for Ritter. She made contact for her first career grand slam, and second 2016 home run, to end the game.

They had previously beaten Woodstock North in the playoffs, by a 4-2 score, to reach the championship final.

The IHSA Class 2A Charleston Track and Field State Meet for girls and boys teams were held on successive weekends. Preliminary results for the May 19 girls events included Marengo squad members: Lillie Simmons in the 100-meters (12.65), Bailey Bertrand in the shot put (35’ 1.25”) and the discus (102’ 6”), and Jordan Parker in the long jump (15’ 1”).

The boys competition was held May 26 and preliminary results included Blaine Borhart (15.29) and Finn Schirmer (15.45) in the 110-meter high hurdles, Finn Schirmer in the 100-meters (11.15), Borhart (40.43) and Schirmer (41.77) in the intermittent 300-meter hurdles, and the 4x400-meter relay team (3:35.65) consisting of Borhart, Jadon Kozin, Kenny Gaines, and Jashiel Lopez.

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