Grant tags Wauconda with 1st Prairie loss
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Well, you don't see this very often: Both starting pitchers strike out the side in the first inning, yet allow a 3-run homer by the time the second inning is over.
It was certainly entertaining softball at Grant High School on Monday, with potential for more drama in the future as there is a tie for first place in the North Suburban Conference's Prairie Division.
Bri Dreschler hit her second homer since Saturday and drove in 4 runs as the host Bulldogs pinned the first conference loss on Wauconda, 7-4.
It looked like both pitchers might dominate the action.
Winning pitching Caitlyn Moran fanned the side in the first. Wauconda freshman Kayla Wedl opened with a strikeout in the first and closed with two more. In between, however, Dreschler cracked a 3-run shot over the center field fence.
"I knew their pitcher was good,'' Dreschler said. "I also knew she threw a whole lot of junk."
So Dreschler picked out a fastball, and there went her third homer of the season.
Grant coach Mike Dolezal noted he just moved Dreschler from the seventh position in the batting order to the cleanup spot for the game.
Moran's troubles started in the second inning. She still had her no-hitter on track until senior Lexie Redmann stepped up, batting seventh for Wauconda. She matched Dreschler with a 3-run homer to right center.
Redmann's second homer of the season positively thrilled the senior.
"Oh my gosh,'' Redmann said. "That's the best feeling in the whole wide world.''
Moran gave credit to Redmann after the game.
"That never feels good,'' Moran said. "But she did what she was supposed to do with that pitch."
And Moran settled in and finished the game for Grant. She struck out 11 in notching the victory and used every pitch at her disposal.
"I throw a fastball, change, screwball, curve, riser and a drop curve,'' she said.
On an RBI single from freshman Brooke Sefcik, Wauconda (13-6, 5-1) took its last lead of the game at 4-3 in the top of the third. In the meantime, the Grant offense was beginning to heat up.
Kayla Uhwat's 2-run single fell into right field, giving Grant a 5-4 advantage in the home half of the third. It stayed that way until the fifth.
That's when Jamie Reiser and Dreschler cracked back-to-back doubles. Deanna Rodriguez drove in Dreschler with the final tally of the game.
Wauconda had its chances in the last two frames. Redmann singled as the Bulldogs loaded the bases in the sixth. Moran wiggled out of trouble.
In the seventh, Sefcik had another single but again Moran closed the door.
Wauconda coach Tim Rennels could count the missed opportunities in the first conference defeat for his club.
"That was nice for Lexie with the quick start,'' Rennels said. "We need to work on getting the big hit. But Grant has a good pitcher."
Still it's been a fine campaign for Wauconda.
"It's all about the team,'' Redmann said. "We really work well together."
Despite the defeat, Redmann has full faith in the freshman pitcher Wedl.
"She's a great pitcher,'' she said, "and an amazing athlete."
Grant (10-6, 5-1) is also having a strong season so far. And Moran certainly has a fan in her coach.
"She's doesn't have to throw 65 miles per hour,'' Dolezal said. "She just moves the ball around. She's the best pitcher in the county who no one has heard of."
Redmann led Wauconda with the 2 hits and 3 RBI.
Kaitlin Wold, Reiser and Dreschler all had 2 hits for Grant.
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