Fittest loser
Article updated: 4/3/2013 10:50 PM

Elk Grove again has an inside line on winning

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Elk Grove's softball team graduated the core from its team that took fourth place in the Class 4A state tournament last season under coach Ken Grams.

But Fenton coach Dave Mello, an Elk Grove grad, summed it up well.

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"They don't ever rebuild," Mello said. "Anyone who underestimates them is not giving Ken and his program its due."

These relatively new Grens, who feature only three varsity returners, have been in tune all season and rang up their fifth straight win on Wednesday at the Dome at the Ballpark in Rosemont.

Senior pitcher Brianna De Silvia, no stranger to the inside facility that has been getting rave reviews, became the third Gren to notch a win as she defeated Fenton 9-1 in the fourth annual Indoor Illinois High School Jamboree.

The tourney is directed by Jim Goranson, whose daughter Dani, a former Grenadiers standout pitcher, coincidentally picked up her first Big Ten win with Michigan State at the same time De Silvia was getting her first win for Elk Grove (5-0).

"It was a great day for Elk Grove pitchers," Grams said with a smile.

"I like it here (at the dome)," said De Silvia, who fired a 1-hitter with 6 strikeouts. "I got used to it here in the winter (while playing with her Illinois Bash club team).

"I just focused on one pitch at a time. Now I want the weather to get better so I can try and get a win outside."

Thursday's win saw the right-hander strike out six and receive some stellar defense.

De Silvia had faced the minimum 13 batters when Rachael Leschewski tripled to right center for Fenton's only hit. A sacrifice fly by Courtney Susmarski gave Fenton its only run off De Silvia.

Freshman third baseman Alex Masnica, sophomore second baseman Aleece Duffy and senior first baseman Riley Romano pulled off a pair of 5-4-3 double plays, one in the second and one to end the game.

"We swung the bats well," said Grams, whose team collected 11 hits and made no errors. "And we were pretty clean in the field. We played real well."

The bats were led by junior Becca Maher (2-run triple), Duffy (2-for-4), sophomore left fielder Brianna Leach (2-for-4, 2 triples) and sophomore catcher Shannon Taucher (2-for-4).

Junior Megan Eul, who has a 3-0 pitching record, walked three times for the Grens while senior Elisa Payne had a sacrifice fly to left which scored Duffy after her triple in the fifth inning.

Junior Taylor Brown and Masnica also had hits for the Grens.

"We're a young team," said Maher, the Grens' junior shortstop. "Some of us who were on the team last year are taking turns as leaders and trying to help the younger players reach the experience level. We are hoping for another great season."

The Bison (5-2) season started 5-0 before they suffered their first loss to Ridgewood on Tuesday.

"We had a much better performance in this game than Tuesday when we made 9 errors," said Mello, a student at Elk Grove at the same time as Gram's daughter Laurie was an all-area pitcher. "That was a conference game that we let slip away. Even Dana (Fritz, the Bison pitcher who celebrated her birthday Wednesday) thought we were much better (against Elk Grove).

"Our schedule is difficult. But being an Elk Grove graduate, it's great being able to play Ken," added Mello, who is in his sixth season directing Fenton and need eight more wins to reach 100 for his career. "You're going up against a legend and it's a great learning experience."

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