Softball: Providence seniors seal the deal
By Randy Whalen For Sun-Times Media June 11, 2012 6:54PM
Providence pitcher Allie Strick. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 13, 2012 6:13AM
It was only fitting that when Providence recorded the final out of its 2-0 win over Mattoon in the third-place game of the Class 3A state softball tournament on Saturday, catcher Ellie Bartosz dropped the third-strike pitch and had to fire the ball to Allie Strick at first base to complete the play.
Bartosz and Strick are the only two seniors on the Celtics team.
“I noticed that and that was pretty cool,” Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld said of the senior combo recording the final out of the most successful softball season in Celtics history. “It was pretty neat.”
For the two seniors, who were also batterymates often during the year, it was just a great end to the season.
“I didn’t think about it,” said Strick of receiving the last out from her fellow senior. “It was just a good feeling to end the game and our high school careers with a win.
“(Third place) means a lot. It means a lot more girls will come out for the team and it gives us a lot of respect.”
Strick, a three-year varsity player who went 17-4 in the circle this season, plans to attend college at Bradley University, just down the road from the site of her final high school softball game at Peoria’s EastSide Centre.
Bartosz, who was on the team all four of her high school years, will attend Western Michigan.
Neither one plans to play softball.
“It’s nice to go out with a win.” Bartosz said. “It also felt good not to make it as interesting as we had the previous games.”
Providence’s four previous games were all one-run affairs. The Celtics won three of them before losing a 2-1 game in eight innings to Marengo in the state semifinals on Friday.
Plainfield East emerges
In just its third season as a varsity program, Plainfield East put itself on the map with a 22-12 record and regional championship.
Every player on the roster was an underclassman and all of them are expected to return for the Bengals next season.
“I felt really good about the season,” East coach Chris Morris said. “We played a tough schedule. I thought we won the games we should have, and we were competitive in most every game.
“We have everyone back next year. That’s the good news. But unfortunately, a lot of other teams have a lot of people back too.”
At the end of April, the Celtics were 12-9. But they won 17 of 21 games to end the season and came home with a softball trophy for the first time in school history.
“It’s been a great year for these kids,” Biesterfeld said. “I’m so proud of my team. These girls are great. They just keep battling, and they really believed in themselves and each other.
“For a school that had never even see a sectional championship in softball to get downstate and have a shot at it all was awesome.”