EAST PEORIA, Ill. — Marist hit the ball here, there and everywhere Friday.
Too many times, a Huntley player was there to catch it.
Senior outfielder Lexi Voss, a Michigan recruit, has been on both sides of the fence enough times to know that’s just how the game of softball works.
“We hit the ball so hard,” she said. “Sometimes, things just doesn’t go your way. (Friday) was one of those days for us.”
It resulted in an unhappy ending for Marist, which lost 3-2 to Huntley in the Class 4A state semifinals at the EastSide Centre.
There was one drive to the warning track by Angela Zedak. Voss and Zedak both hit line drives so sharply to center that one could hear them smack into the glove of Huntley outfielder Kendra Mitchell.
It seemed, in some respects, unreal.
Marist put runners on base against Huntley ace Briana Bower in five of the seven innings, but stranded eight.
Bower came into the game with 339 strikeouts in 197 innings. The RedHawks struck out just once.
It was all to no avail.
Marist (36-3) will play at 1 p.m. Saturday against Joliet West (23-14) in the third-place game. Huntley (34-7) will play at 3:30 p.m. against St. Charles East (26-10) for the state title.
“It will still be an honor if we finish third, but it’s not (first),” Voss said. “I really wanted to end our season with first place for the seniors on our team.
“I just think we hit that pitcher really hard. I don’t think there was anything more we could have done.”
It was a tough-luck loss for Zedak (21-2), who was touched for three runs on four hits in the third inning but was otherwise rock solid.
The Northwestern recruit finished with a six-hitter. She struck out seven, keeping the RedHawks in a position to rally from the 3-0 deficit.
“I wanted to close the door,” Zedak said. “I wanted to give us a chance to score runs and tie it up. We were hitting the ball. That’s the best we’ve hit in all of the playoffs. That’s why it stinks.”
Marist scored its first run of the game in the top of the fifth on an RBI groundout by Kali Case. The RedHawks scored again in the sixth on singles by Madison Garofalo and Jess Balich and two errors.
With the bases loaded and one out, Brianna Brown bounced back to Bower for a force-out at the plate. Easton Lotus was next and sent a blistering liner to left-center.
As seemingly always, Mitchell was there to make the catch.
“We battled all the way to the end,” Marist coach Colleen Biebel said. “That’s all I can ask for. I have one more game with this whole senior class.
“I’ve been with them for three years — Angela and Cassie (Lindmark) for four. They have given me nothing but their best 100 percent of the time. I’m going to miss them like crazy.”