Gianna Cunningham’s walk off helps Benet Academy to a third place finish over Charleston in the 3A Softball State Series

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It’s the final day of the 2022-2023 IHSA season as Benet Academy takes the field one last time in the third place game of the 3A softball state series against Charleston. The Redwings are coming off a semifinal loss to Lemont and now want to end the season on a high note taking on the Lady Trojans who are making their first ever state appearance and would also love to end their season with a win. This highlight is sponsored by BMO

Charleston bats come alive early

Lady Trojans get off on the right foot with a two-out, two-run rbi double from Clara Cox in the top of the first and it’s also the first time Charleston scores some runs in a state series after getting shut out the day prior. 

Bottom of the first and Angela Horejs is looking to get something with a nice hit to center field that has two on for the Wings. 

However Benet catcher Grace Babich chops to Avery Beals at third base and she just taps the bag in time to end the inning as Charleston softball holds the early advantage. 

Benet uses a strong third inning to take the lead

To the third inning we go and Marikate Ritterbusch also chops one but thanks to a bounce and bobble and she is safe at first.

That was huge and despite Nina Pesare grounding out on a bunt, Addison Shrader overthrows at second badly and Ritterbusch turns on the jets, turns the corner and scores to get the wings on the board. 

Bridget Chapman is up next with two on and she absolutely crushes this ball into left and coming in to score is Taylor Sconza and this game is tied at two.

Still in the third and Babich gives Benet the lead despite getting thrown out at first as Chapman scores. An rbi is an rbi no matter the circumstances. 

Lady Trojans respond as Kailyn Wilson pops up but it drops perfectly for a single.

Grace Babich is ready for any base runner

However, good luck trying to outrun Babich. She throws to Angela Horejs at second and with a runner over sliding the bag, Horejs knabs her to retire the side. 

Charleston gets back up in the fifth inning with a fly ball from Blair Ritchey that nobody wants to catch so Ritchey gets a double. 

Both defenses turn on lockdown mode in the late innings

Addison Shrader rewards Ritchey with a hit way out into center field and this game is tied up at 3-3 thanks to the rbi double by Shrader. 

Shrader can also make plays as a pitcher as she runs and dives to catch the short pop up.

Both defenses remained on lockdown mode even when a foul ball happens. Erin Blair catches the pop up and we go to extra innings.

Beals gets it started for Charleston in the top of the 8th with a bunt and turns on the after burner to make it safely to first. 

Do not run away from Babich

Did I mention Babich is still on the field? Well this time she throws it down perfectly to Angela Horejs and tags out another base runner. Babich, Horejs and the rest of the Wings are feeling it. 

Bottom of the frame and Angela Horejs builds off the momentum with her third hit of the ball game and she happens to be the winning run at first.

Lil G to the rescue

Now she’s on third with the bases loaded after walks to Bridget Cunningham and Gianna Horejs. Gianna Cunningham drives one to left left and the ball just gets down for a hit. Horejs comes in to score and the Redwings win. Lil G comes up big with the rbi and Benet Academy takes home the 3A softball third place spot after a 4-3 victory over Charleston. This is the second 3rd place State softball trophy for the Wings, both under Jerry Schilf. 

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!