Gagliano's 56-game streak ends
Marissa Gagliano is human after all.
When Wheaton Academy's junior shortstop went 0-for-4 last Monday against Rosary, it marked the first time in high school she failed to reach base.
Her streak had reached 56 straight games reaching base; Radford recruit Gagliano, hitting .545 on the season with a .591 on-base percentage, 10 runs scored and 10 steals in six games this year, has hit safely in 48 of her 57 high school games.
Gagliano didn't know about the streak, and neither did her dad and coach Paul Gagliano. Todd Starowitz, Gagliano's coach as a freshman and the team statistician, brought it to their attention afterward.
"Marissa, she's selfless. She doesn't care about stats," Paul Gagliano said. "She was more concerned that she couldn't do more to help her team win."
Montini girls have coach's back:
Montini coach Richie Costante got nice affirmation recently that his softball kids care.
In their game April 12 against St. Edward, Costante's Montini softball kids all wore white ribbons on their helmets; white ribbons are the symbol of lung cancer awareness.
Costante's mom was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She's gone through a round of chemotherapy, three rounds of radiation last week and five more this week. She goes to an oncologist every other day but fortunately was released from the hospital and is back at home.
Broncos junior Cristina Barrett and her mom made the ribbons, unbeknown to Costante. He noticed Barrett wearing one first time to bat.
"She could tell I was grateful," Costante said. "It was a nice little reminder that they got my back."
Costante's mom had surgery seven years to remove a cancerous tumor from her colon and for five years had a clean bill of health from her doctor. It came back six months ago.
On Monday a CT scan of the brain found two and potentially three tumors.
Coincidentally, Montini is hosting a Cancer Awareness Day Saturday as part of a doubleheader with Niles North. Costante is hopeful that his mom, who lives in Bolingbrook, can get there for at least a few innings.
A silver lining to all the poor weather this spring is that it has afforded Costante more time to tend to his mom.
"There are many things in this life that are bigger than a softball game," Costante said. "Sometimes you need that reminder."
A sprint to the finish:
Leading into Saturday's doubleheader at Providence, Benet had played all of seven games this spring. That's two less than the nine postgamed games.
It's been that kind of spring.
With the forecast somewhat clearing up this week, it should make for a furious final four weeks of the regular season.
Benet has 15 conference games left and four scheduled nonconference games. Most years teams get in 35 games. Right now, Jerry Schilf's Redwings are looking at 29 max. Already games against Downers Grove South, Neuqua Valley, York and Geneva have been postponed not once but twice.
"It's going to be crazy," Schilf said. "We're still trying to get the schedule ironed out. We're reluctant to reschedule more nonconference games because we still have conference games to reschedule."
Schilf anticipated a "mad scramble" the week before the playoffs, people looking for opponents every day.
If it comes down to it, he could allow Sunday games.
"Every day is a potential game day," Schilf said. "The big thing is just going out and playing. When it's back and forth every day, playing and not playing, you're going to get inconsistencies."
A Wildcat for all seasons:
When Neuqua walked off the bus Thursday in Ohio, the mercury read 80 degrees. Alas, Illinois' rainstorms followed the teams east and washed out all of Friday's games.
When they woke up Saturday morning, it was 35 degrees with blustery winds that made it feel like 25.
By the time they hit the fields, snow was falling and blowing around. Still, the softball kept going.
"It wasn't sticking snow, but it was all over," Neuqua coach Melissa Wilson said. "It was miserable."
Still, Wilson and her Wildcats enjoyed the bonding experience the road trip afforded. Wilson also likes playing opponents her girls know nothing about.
And Neuqua hit the ball hard.
Colleen Hill hit three balls off the top of a fence Wilson estimated was 380 feet away from home plate, Alyssa Domico 2 and Megan Bilgri 1. Hill's third would have been a game-winner in the bottom of the seventh against defending Ohio state champ Keystone. Neuqua ended up losing 13-12 in eight innings, going 1-1 in Ohio.
"It's the coldest weather we've played in, but the best we've hit," Wilson said. "The weather was bad, but the tournament itself was great."
This week's games to watch:
Lake Park at Neuqua Valley, Wednesday: A key game in what should be a wide-open Upstate Eight Valley. Stephanie Starr and a deep Lancers lineup will test Neuqua's Jamie O'Brien.
Naperville North at Naperville Central, Friday: If a DVC team is to beat the Redhawks or Glenbard North, the Huskies would be the best bet.
Marist at Benet, Saturday: Both teams split conference doubleheaders last Saturday, Benet at Providence and Marist against Fenwick. Benet won the East Suburban last year, while Marist won it all in Class 4A.
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