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Area softball teams hoping to knock off defending state champs Marengo and Moline

Five TribLocal area teams are gunning for state softball titles this weekend but will have to knock off a pair of defending state champs to do it.
Class 3A and 4A semifinals in the Illinois High School Association state tournament start Friday in East Peoria.
Elk Grove High School coach Ken Grams has 778 victories and numerous 30-victory seasons but is looking for his first state title. The Grenadiers bring in a 31-8 mark against Marist at 2:30 p.m. Friday and have outscored their five postseason opponents by a combined score of 29-7.
Senior pitcher Dani Goranson is a strikeout machine, notching 284 Ks in 198 innings. She also leads the team with 10 homers and 13 doubles.
The Grenadiers finished second in the state in 1982 and third in Class 4A in 2010.
Marist, a Chicago school that draws several students and athletes from the south suburbs, is making its state finals debut and brings in a 25-15 mark.
The Redhawks are riding a 10-game winning streak and sophomore Brooke Wyderski has been on fire all year, hitting 10 homers and driving in 41 runs.
Bartlett, which draws students from West Chicago, is in the other semifinal bracket and takes on defending Class 4A champ Moline Friday at 5 p.m.
The Hawks (31-8) outscored postseason opponents by a combined 22-2 score and are led by senior Tori Burke, who has four homers and 26 RBI and has 20 wins on the mound.
In Class 3A, Glenbard South is making its fourth appearance in the final four in the past five years, finishing third in 2008, fourth in 2009 and third in 2011. Coach Julie Fonda’s squad is 34-4 and takes on Mattoon at noon Friday.
Solving South’s Chitkowski sisters has not been an easy thing to do for opponents. Senior Danielle Chitkowski own a 17-2 mark with a 1.74 ERA and has driven in 51 runs. Junior Stephanie Chitkowski is 16-2 with an 0.98 ERA.
The Raiders had a 15-game winning streak halted with a 7-3 loss to Burlington Central to close out the season but have beaten four postseason opponents b a combined score of 27-3.
Providence Catholic takes a 28-12 record into its Class 3A semifinal game against defending Class 3A champ Marengo at 9:30 a.m. Friday. The Celtics are making their first state finals appearance.
Coach Jay Biesterfeld is enjoying this run. He opened his coaching career at Rich South, where his team won just 25 games in five years. Since coming to Providence in 2005, he has racked up 164 wins.
Last year, the Celtics were 16-19-1 but this year they have claimed nine straight victories heading into the final four including a 2-1 sectional victory over Tinley Park, a 5-4 sectional title win over Oak Forest and a 4-3 supersectional triumph over Geneseo.
Pitcher Allie Strick struck out 174 hitters over 142 1/3 innings en route to a 17-4 record for the Celtics. Amanda Wilson has driven in 30 runs and Morgan Greenwood 29.

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