LEO-CEDARVILLE - Bishop Dwenger softball coach Dave Moyer watched his team jump out to a quick four-run lead against third-ranked Woodlan in Thursday's Class 3A Leo Sectional Championship game, then added a few more gray hairs over six-plus innings as the Saints tried to hold on.
No. 4 Bishop Dwenger ended the Warriors' quest for a fourth consecutive sectional crown and earned its first since 2010 with a 4-2 victory.
The Saints scored all four of their runs in the first inning off Hannah Robbins, then survived numerous scoring threats from Woodlan to advance.
“I think we came out with the same adrenaline we had in (Wednesday's 15-3 win over Leo),” Moyer said. “They were feeling it early.”
The Saints scored three of their four first inning runs with two outs. After a SAC fly by Demitra Burns plated the first run, Kristina Burkhardt doubled home a run followed by a two-run single by Julie Bazur that gave Bishop Dwenger an early cushion.
“It was really important to get on them first,” Bazur said. “We could relax a little but still stay focused.”
Woodlan would score one run in the bottom of the first inning and add a second on a solo home run by Logan Smead in the third. In each of the next four innings, the Warriors would have the tying run at the plate, but were unable to score first on Bishop Dwenger starting pitcher Jordan Schenider or Burns, who pitched the final three innings.
“We thought that'd be a little surprise (to switch pitchers),” Moyer said.
Woodlan's biggest threat came in the fourth when it loaded the bases with just one out, but Haley Hostetler grounded into a fielder's choice with the out coming at home followed by a line out to second base to end the threat.
Meanwhile, the Saints did not advance a runner past second base after the first inning.
“We only had a few baserunners after (the first inning),” Moyer said. “Our defense came through for us on a couple occasions.
“We just couldn't get them out 1-2-3, I don't think they ever went down like that in fact.”
With little margin for error in the field, the pressure was definitely felt as the Warriors' scoring threats mounted.
“It was stressful, but our defense played well,” Bazur said.
Woodlan's final scoring chance came in the seventh with a one out walk, but a fielder's choice followed by a groundout ended the game.
The Saints will take on Fairfield next Tuesday at St. Charles at 7 p.m.