Oetting coaxes a steal attempt attempt
EAST PEORIA – Sterling catcher Bailey Oetting faked a throw toward first base as Tinley Park's Alyssa Gunther danced in the base path.
Gunther stayed put and Oetting threw back to Stephanie Kester with one out in the fifth inning of what turned into a 5-4 loss for Sterling in the 3A state semifinal game at EastSide Centre.
The Sterling crowd behind the backstop implored Oetting to just throw it to first base to try and get Gunther.
All of them but one. Her dad, Ryan Oetting, didn't want his daughter to take the bait.
"Don't throw it behind her," Ryan Oetting yelled. "That's what she wants you to do. You throw it to first, and she'll take off for second."
On the next pitch, Gunther took off after a fake by Oetting. Gunther didn't have a chance as Oetting's throw was true to second.
"I just have a system where I fake it down there three times," Oetting said. "On that third time, I know they are going to take off. I knew I had her when she broke for second."
The throw was a nice confidence boost after her attempt to catch Kate Sebastian stealing second in the third inning went left and into center.
"I just threw across my body too much on that throw," Oetting said. "You learn from that and move on so that you can make the next throw perfect."
Part of the show: Tinley Park coach Wendy Podbielniak was part of the entertainment during the Titans' turn at bat.
The energetic coach was animated as the third base coach, interacting with her players and the Warriors.
In the third inning, slugger Sam Alberto laced a foul ball near her coach. Podbielniak danced away.
"Now your smiling," she joked with her stoic junior. "Now I know what it takes."
In the sixth inning, she tried to have Alyssa Williams put down a bunt.
The attempt skirted down the line slowly, and Sterling Priscilla Aponte wasn't likely going to be able to field the ball and make a play.
Instead, Aponte jumped to avoid contact with the ball, and it gradually went foul and Kester came over and snatched it up.
As Aponte returned to third, Podbielniak gave her a high-five and congratulated her on a smart play.
Blame it on the rain: Sterling won 29 games this season, which is two short of the school record of 31.
It's a record they likely would have shattered if not for nine games that were canceled due to the wet and cold weather this spring.
This was the third time that a Sterling team had played in a third-place game. The girls basketball team took third in 1979 and placed fourth in 1983.
And the champions are: It took eight innings, but Glenbard South finally figured out how to scratch across a run in a 1-0 win against Alexis Silkwood and the Alton Marquette Explorers, who beat Sterling 3-2 in the semifinal on Friday.
Glenbard's Jane Trzaska tripled home Payton Carli in the top the eighth for the game's lone run.
Silkwood, the IHSA's all-time wins leader and strikeout leader, allowed six hits and one run. She had 11 strikeouts and no walks. She finishes with 1,908 career strikeouts. She'll take her arm to Mississippi State next school year.
Trzaska and Stephanie Chitkowski (19-2) combined for a shutout for Glenbard South (31-5).