Lake Park can hit — and hit any pitcher.
Danielle Jecmen might just be the Lancers’ missing link, though.
Coming off a shoulder injury, Lake Park’s senior pitcher threw her second straight strong outing to start the season, and the No. 20-ranked Lancers’ bats gave her plenty support in Wednesday’s 11-2 win over Montini at The Dome at The Ballpark in Rosemont.
“It feels so good to be back,” said Jecmen, who will play at Division II Bemidji State University in Minnesota next year. “I just want to be a part of this team. I knew it was my job over the off-season to get healthy so I could help out my team. I’m really excited for what’s to come this season.”
Jecmen was 5-3 with 50 strikeouts when shoulder tendinitis more or less shut her down the last week of April last spring. She beat Wheaton North 11-1 on Monday and allowed just 1 earned run on 8 hits with 3 strikeouts Wednesday.
“I said last year our biggest downfall was not holding teams to less than 5 runs. If we lost a game, it wasn’t because we didn’t score,” Lake Park coach Tom Mazzie said. “I think we’ll go as far as our pitchers take us.”
For the second time in three days, Lake Park (2-0) showed why it probably boasts the area’s best lineup this side of Benet.
Lake Park pounded out 12 hits, 4 of them doubles. Back-to-back doubles by Stephanie Starr and Kelly O’Neill staked the Lancers to a 2-0 lead after an inning, Jecmen doubled in Starr and O’Neill in the sixth, and sophomore Maria Zepeda added a 2-run double in the sixth.
Zepeda was 3-for-4, reached base 4 times and stole home on a double steal in the third, and Jecmen and Starr each added 2 hits. When Mazzie went to the bench, catcher Mari Colucci delivered a pair of singles.
“I won’t hesitate bringing anybody off the bench,” Mazzie said. “They can all hit, have all worked hard. I was proud of the girls. It’s 235 to center, and they didn’t try to hit home runs. The went gap to gap, line drives.”
Montini sophomore Lauren Trojnar held Lake Park to 3 runs through four innings, but a couple errors in the fifth and seventh hurt her cause. Montini beat Northside Prep 12-2 in Rosemont on Tuesday.
“Believe it or not we played better today than we did yesterday, but it’s a little different game and a different team,” Montini coach Richie Costante said. “Lake Park can hit, and the more pitches you have to throw the more they time it. But I thought Lauren pitched well.”
Cristina Barrett singled twice and scored an unearned run for Montini in the third. In the sixth, Broncos junior Sara Ross launched a towering solo homer.
Montini, which started four freshmen and two sophomores, continues a busy week today against No. 6 St. Charles North in Rosemont.
“We’re still trying to figure things out, but we’re getting there,” Costante said. “We’re competing and getting better. We came out and competed against a good Class 4A school and my girls never quit.”
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