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posted: 5/16/2010 12:01 AM

Thumbs up for Carmel's Tack in win over Joliet Catholic

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  • Carmel pitcher Rachel Tack (3) is greeted by teammates, from left, Danielle Pullano, Sally Snarski, Eden Warnke and Meg Grady, after returning to the field after a hand injury.

      Carmel pitcher Rachel Tack (3) is greeted by teammates, from left, Danielle Pullano, Sally Snarski, Eden Warnke and Meg Grady, after returning to the field after a hand injury.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer


She already had endured a broken left leg that landed her on crutches for two months last fall and a stress fracture to her right leg that kept her off the softball field for three weeks this spring.

And then Saturday morning, misfortune struck poor Rachel Tack again. Carmel Catholic's senior pitcher called her newest injury "the most painful" of the three.

"It just started bleeding, and there was blood everywhere," Tack said. "I looked down and it was red all over."

Tack's injury?

A bloody knuckle on her right thumb that was so minor that a paramedic might have chuckled. Carmel coach Jason Raymond pulled a sticky bandage out of his pocket, tossed it to Tack, and all worries were subsided.

So much for the drama. No need to call 911 or even summon the athletic trainer.

"It was a pretty intense injury," Tack deadpanned. "I'm surprised I made it."

Tack brushed off the embarrassment of her "injury" - the game was stopped until her thumb could be bandaged - and continued to pitch against Joliet Catholic in Game 1 of an East Suburban Catholic Conference doubleheader in Mundelein. Her performance deserved, yes, thumbs up.

Tack allowed only a pair of earned runs and struck out eight, as Carmel rallied to take the opener 7-3, before Joliet Catholic won the second game 9-0.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and that (Game 2) was Mr. Hyde," Raymond said after the split left his young Corsairs with a record of 9-20, including 4-9 in the ESCC.

Carmel's top two pitchers, the veteran Tack and freshman Erika Schoenfeld (shoulder), were sidelined three weeks during nearly the same time this season. That fact helps explains, in part, the Corsairs' won-lost record.

"We got 10-runned a lot," Raymond said.

A combined seven freshmen and sophomores are starting for Raymond.

"We're happy with the progress, especially our sophomore class," Raymond said.

Those sophomores - Kelley Dodge, Sally Snarski and Madaline Felipez - all played on varsity last year and each contributed in Game 1. Dodge, a slap hitter who bats leadoff, went 2-for-4 and scored twice. Felipez singled, walked twice and made a nice running catch going back on the ball in left field to save a couple of runs. Snarski had a 2-run single, 3-run double and walk.

"They've really come a long way from last year," Raymond said. "You can really tell they've benefitted from the experience playing up as freshmen. They've taken the next step, and that's what we're looking forward to with the freshmen this year."

Snarski's two-out, 2-run single in the third put Carmel in front 2-1. After Joliet Catholic touched Tack for 2 runs in the fourth to regain the lead at 3-2, Snarski delivered again.

Her line drive shot past the center fielder and rolled to the fence, scoring all three runners on base.

"She's great," Tack said. "She's a really good hitter. You can always count on her."

Meg Grady and Jenelle Dewald each went 2-for-3 for Carmel, which punched 7 of its 11 hits in its 5-run fifth.

The Corsairs weren't as fortunate in Game 2, as Joliet Catholic (15-14) jumped on Tack for 6 runs on 7 hits in the bottom of the first. The big blow was Kayla Borgra's 3-run double.

Kelly Valencik went 3-for-3 for the Angels. Haley Gerl, Kayla Zembruski, Claire O'Connor and Lauren Randich each had 2 hits.

Joliet Catholic pitcher Ashley Searing tossed the complete-game shutout, scattering 4 hits, including a double to freshman Danielle Pullano.