Nationals up next for Skyhawks

Perhaps the Sauk
Valley Community College softball team just wanted to tempt fate.

Bob Lowe’s team overcame a loss in the first game of the Region IV tournament in Freeport, winning its next four to make the national tournament for the second time in 3 years.

And no team in the 10-team field might be better battle-tested. The Skyhawks ran their nation-leading hit-by-pitch total to 46 over the weekend, the last two resulting baserunners crossing for the title-clinching victory.

“They’re not bruises. They’re trophies,” Lowe said.

After Courtney Shepard and Sam St. George absorbed pitches in the bottom of the sixth inning in a third tussle with IVC, they both scored on a two-run
single by Kiara Kaleel.

The knock was the
difference in a 6-4 victory and gave Kaleel (18-4) four wins on the weekend in the pitching circle.

Brianna Shultz (8-4) took the only Sauk loss – and a hard-luck one – in a 5-4 loss to IVC on Saturday morning. Four of the five runs were unearned.

Sauk, the third seed, then beat top seed Highland 3-2 before blanking Waubonsee 3-0 and thwomping IVC 10-3 before the title-clinching victory Sunday afternoon. Kelsey Hagan hit two homers in that one and five altogether over the weekend, more than doubling her season total, now at nine.