Once again, small ball came up big for the Glenbard South softball team.
With a lineup loaded with speed and left-handed bats, the Raiders used a slew of infield hits and stolen bases to knock off Lake Park 12-3 Saturday in Roselle. Glenbard South had a 5-run third inning and a 4-run sixth to pull away from the Lancers, who dropped to 2-8.
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Leadoff hitter Payton Carli had a pair of infield hits and a walk and scored twice, while No. 3 hitter Tarah Valdez had 3 hits, 3 runs and a stolen base as the visitors improved to 5-3 after producing 14 hits and taking advantage of 4 Lancers errors in the field.
"Pretty much our whole lineup has speed. It's not just one or two people. It's all the way around," said Carli, who reached on a bunt single in the third, moved up on a wild pitch and eventually scored to tie the game at 2-2. "Baserunning is a big factor, and we capitalize on it a lot."
Twice the Raiders used double steals to push across runs, but the small-ball attack also featured its share of hard hits, including Ashley Cohen's deep RBI triple to center field in the third and Ashton Cattenhead's line shot in the fifth that got past the Lake Park right fielder and allowed Valdez to score for a 6-2 lead.
"Definitely small ball is our favorite. You can tell small ball is our game," Valdez said. "We're confident with our speed and we're confident with our small ball. It's a game-changer obviously for us."
Raiders coach Julie Fonda knows the left-handed bats at the bottom of her lineup -- coupled with Carli at the top -- can pressure opponents into mistakes in the field. "The speed kills. The 8-9-1, all lefties, have been putting the ball in play and making the defense make plays."
Fonda, who got solid efforts on the mound from both Taylor Carli and Cohen in the win, says her team has improved greatly on offense this spring.
"We've been really focusing on hitting and they've been doing a really nice job with their approach at the plate," she said. "Between the beginning of the year and now it's night and day with their hitting."
For Lake Park, Ashlyn Worcester gave her team a 2-0 lead with a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the second. The Lancers' final run came in the fifth after Elisabeth Brown doubled and scored on a single off the bat of Taylor Barton.
Lancers coach James Chellson hopes his team's near misses in the field turn into outs as the team gets more experience.
"We put then in the best position in terms of defense, but unfortunately if you don't make the actual play errors happen," he said. "When you put the ball in play good things happen and that's why they did, so you have to give them credit.
"We're in April and hopefully by May we'll be there. Things will change around for us."