Prospect's Hanna Lythberg and Elk Grove's Carly Danek haven't been batterymates since they played on a 12-and-under Bulls-Sox Academy travel softball team that went 76-9.
Reunited as pitcher and catcher for the first time, the seniors were again a formidable duo in Monday's 20th annual Mid-Suburban League All-Star Game in Barrington.
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Lythberg did not give up a run while allowing 3 hits over the final four innings while pitching to Danek to earn the 5-2 victory for the MSL East over the West.
The Prospect right-hander, who said she wasn't all that excited to pitch before the contest, wound up winning the Nancy Frisk Most Valuable Player Award.
"I'm sore," she said. "I pitched five games over the last four days (with her travel team in a Naperville tournament). But we had only two pitchers so I decided I better step up to the plate and do it."
Lythberg stepped on the mound with her team trailing 2-1 but held the West in check while the East rallied with a run in the fifth and 2 in the sixth.
"They had a really good lineup," said Lythberg, who will play for Valdosta State (Ga.). "I had to keep them off balance and keep the ball away from them because they were all capable home run hitters."
Two of Lythberg's Prospect teammates combined to give the East a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
Knights outfielder Amy Graham singled to right to score Sarah Scaccia, who had belted a one-out double to right-center.
After one out in the sixth, Rolling Meadows' Josie Suchecki reached on an error and Devan Parkison drew a walk.
Amanda Zammatta put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, setting up a two-out, 2-run single down the third base line by Danek for the 5-2 cushion.
Parkison went 1-for-1 with a pair of walks.
She blasted two-out solo homer over the left field fence in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2.
The Grens all-area catcher probably wouldn't mind if her future school (University of Chicago) played its home games at the Fields of Dreams.
Parkison also hit homers in the Grens' sectional wins over Fremd and Conant on the same diamond two weeks ago.
"I don't know what it is -- just something about this field," she said with a smile. "Things were a little sketchy at the start because our pitchers (Lythberg and Dani Goranson) didn't want to throw. But they came through for us.
"I know Dani was tired from the weekend (pitching in the IHSA state finals) but she's tough and I am definitely going to miss catching her."
Parkison caught Goranson for the first three innings Monday.
The Michigan State-bound Goranson then moved to shortstop, showing her versatility with her glove. She made two nice plays in the infield to help get outs for Lythberg.
"It's just a fun game to play," said Goranson, who helped pitch and hit the Grens and coach Ken Grams to fourth place in the Class 4A state tourney. "This was a nice way to end with Devan catching me and coach Grams in the dugout."
Schaumburg's fine pitching duo of Rene Kakareka (Philadelphia) and Alyssa Lancaster (Siena) handled the mound work for the West, which scored first.
Barrington's Ally McLaughlin singled to left center to start the game.
After two were out, Brittany Ciura (Fremd) and Kaileigh Moertl (Palatine) drew walks to load the bases.
Kakareka then singled to left to give the West a 1-0 lead.
Goranson got the East right back into contention when she led off the bottom of the first with a double to left center. She took third on Lythberg's groundout to third.
Suchecki then made good contact but hit the ball right to the left fielder, who made the catch. A heads-up Goranson scored with a delayed steal on the play.
The West nudged back ahead 2-1 in the third inning when Fremd's Caitlin Patenaude led off with a homer over the center field fence.
Lancaster followed with a single to center but Goranson retired the next batters on a popup to first and a pair of strikeouts.
Conant standout three-sport athlete Allie Bauch was the game's only multiple-hitter. The Illinois-bound shortstop went 3-for-3. Also getting hits for the West were Barrington's K.D. Madden while Elk Grove's Krista Soesbe had an infield single for the East.
The forecast of possible rain threatened the annual all-star contest.
"It's amazing, we have no rain date for this game and only one time did it have to be canceled in 20 years," said Barrington coach and event host Perry Peterson. "Everyone kept talking rain for this year's game.
"Instead, it was another real enjoyable evening. We had two good softball teams and it was a great way to honor a great group of senior girls."