It's hard enough for opposing batters to face one Chitkowski, but two?
So when junior Stephanie Chitkowski relieved older sister Danielle in the top of the fifth inning of Wednesday's Class 3A Glenbard South softball sectional semifinal, it was more of the same for the Nazareth hitters. Only different.
More of the same, in that Nazareth couldn't score off either Chitkowski and struck out six times against Danielle, six times against Stephanie in the Raiders' 3-0 victory.
Different? Let Danielle explain.
"I love pitching with her, we're a great team together, whether I start or she starts, we have trust in each other," said Danielle Chitkowski (18-2), a senior who will play at Syracuse University next season. "Her changeup is awesome. I go up to the plate against her and I can't hit it. And she usually works away, and I usually work high."
"It just depends on the game, how Dani's moving, and it's great to have Steph to go to, and even though they are sisters, they're very different pitchers," added Raiders coach Julie Fonda. "It's nice to have the different look. They start to get used to Dani and then they gotta deal with Steph."
The Chitkowskis clearly confused the Roadrunners (19-17), who were caught looking on nine of the 12 strikeouts. Nazareth managed just three singles, two against Danielle, one against Stephanie.
"They have a nice tandem of pitching, I will compliment that, and definitely we took too many looking," Nazareth coach Kristen Stojetz said. "That hurt us."
The Chitkowski sisters got all the runs they needed in the second inning, in which Lisa Bartha led off with a double to center field that one-hopped the fence. Olivia Ramirez reached on a fielder's choice, with Bartha safe on the tag play at third base. One batter later, Taryn Andros beat out a bunt, driving in Bartha with the game's first run. With two outs, Brianna Meath's flyball flummoxed the Nazareth left fielder, and Ramirez and Andros scored on the error.
"My biggest disappointment right now is when we let down our pitcher," said Stojetz, whose team has had its season ended in sectional play by Glenbard South (33-4) three consecutive seasons. "We had one bad inning."
Glenbard South managed just one more hit the rest of the game, a sixth-inning Meath single to right field.
"I think we were very complacent with our three runs and knew that our pitching staff was going to do a great job, and they did, and that's something that we have to change," Fonda said. "Our mentality cannot be to just be satisfied because it will bite us sooner or later."
The Raiders will host the sectional final at 11 a.m. Saturday against either St. Francis or Riverside-Brookfield.