Lindsey Cherry is proof that good location, changing speeds and a tremendous infield can carry a pitcher a long way.
On Monday Glenbard North's senior pitcher struck out nine, took a shutout into the seventh inning and got near flawless defense behind her as the No. 4 Panthers beat No. 7 Glenbard South 6-1 in Carol Stream.
"Lindsey was unbelievable today," Glenbard North coach Josh Sanew said. "I thought she did a great job of mixing speeds today and she hit her spots."
Cherry (5-1) might not possess the velocity that some No. 1 pitchers do, but it's hard to argue with the results. She was 7-0 with a 0.91 ERA last year, and already this spring she has shut out Lake Park and shut down Glenbard South. Her drop curve can be deadly on the outside corner, and she mixed in a changeup more Monday.
"Her biggest thing is her location is so spot-on," Sanew said. "She's not afraid to get in on your hands, and at this level you have to challenge those hitters inside. Maybe from the eye looking on she doesn't fire the ball as much, but when you get in there against her she's awfully tough."
It helps having a great defense behind her, and Glenbard North's infield of Stephanie Campos, Sydney Benz, Alex Caliva and Heather Sperlazzo is as good as it gets. Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda had a great one last year and thinks Glenbard North's could be even better.
"I trust them so much," Cherry said. "I know if I hit my location and the batter hits the ball they are there behind me."
Glenbard North (7-1) gave Cherry all the offense she needed in the third inning, batting around to go ahead 4-0. Benz, hitting over .600 on the young season, singled in a pair of runs and Ashley Stiver singled in the fourth in an inning aided by two hit batters and an error.
An inning later Campos made it 6-0, slugging a two-run homer.
"Glenbard South's a great team, and that's probably the best pitcher we've seen all year," Sanew said. "That was probably the best we've played all year."
Glenbard South's Jane Trzaska (4-1), throwing her fifth game in seven days, left after three innings with tightness in her back that has been a nagging issue. Fonda saw no use keeping her best player in there with the conference opener Tuesday against Riverside-Brookfield.
Taylor Carli retired the last seven batters she saw in relief.
"Jane's got some tight back muscles right now, and it flared up on Saturday. I thought one day of rest would do it for her, but it didn't," Fonda said. "I'm not going to lay a nonconference game on my senior star's season. It was just precautionary. I thought Taylor did a great job coming in."
The Raiders got on the board in the seventh, Ashton Cattenhead singling and scoring on an error. Carli had 2 hits for Glenbard South (5-1).
Follow Josh on Twitter @jwelge96