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Lauren Stefek's HR and Cami Carter's gem lifts North Boone into state-title softball game

North Boone's softball team looked right at home Friday night in its first appearance at the IHSA state tournament in Peoria.

And after a powerful 2-0 win over Auburn, we'll get to see how they look in their first state championship game right back there on Saturday.

More Rockford-area softball: Hononegah, Auburn bow out of softball sectionals, leaving only North Boone

"Now we go for the gold," said senior right hander Cami Carter, who pitched her 11th shutout of the season on Friday.

Led by Carter, and by the bats of Lauren Stefek and Dani Goodman, the Vikings won the Class 2A state semifinal. Carter struck out seven, including the side in the seventh, and she shut out a potent Auburn co-op lineup to lead the Vikings to their first state-title game.

Now Carter and North Boone (29-4) will take on Carterville in the 2A state championship game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday back in Peoria.

North Boone shortstop Lauren Stefek (22) readies to throw the ball to first base for the out during a game against Stillman Valley on Friday, April 19, 2024, at the Davis Junction Softball Fields in Davis Junction.
North Boone shortstop Lauren Stefek (22) readies to throw the ball to first base for the out during a game against Stillman Valley on Friday, April 19, 2024, at the Davis Junction Softball Fields in Davis Junction.

As Carter was mowing them down on the mound, North Boone's bats did just enough.

"I knew I just needed to do my thing," Carter said, "and our bats would take care of the rest."

Stefek curshed a one-out solo home run to right center to snap the Vikings out of a scoreless battle in the top of the fourth. Then Goodman slapped a one-hopper to the fence for an RBI-double in the seventh, and that was more than enough for Carter.

Carter, now 22-3 on the season with 212 strikeouts in 160 innings pitched, will need to make a quick turnaround if she's to be ready for the state championship game against a good team.

"I don't think I've ever had a quicker turnaround than this," Carter said. "But I'll be ready."

Senior Cami Carter throws a pitch during a North Boone softball game this season.
Senior Cami Carter throws a pitch during a North Boone softball game this season.

On a 1-0 win in 10 innings, Carterville found a way to knock off Rockridge, which came in as the three-time defending 2A state champs, in the semifinal just before North Boone's. The Vikings needed much less time to dispose of Auburn (27-8-1).

Now they will see if they can do it one more time.

"It's just so exhilirating," Carter added. "We're all so excited for (the championship game). Just one more."

Jay Taft is a Rockford Register Star sports reporter. Email him at jtaft@rrstar.com and follow him on X, formerly Twitter, at @JayTaft. Sign up for the Rockford High School Sports Newsletter here at rrstar.com. Jay has covered a variety of sports, from the Chicago Bears and Blackhawks to local youth sports, since the turn of the century at the Register Star.

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: North Boone soars into the state championship game for softball