Softball: Hersey edges Elk Grove after Grens rally from 8 down

This past winter, Grace Grabowy made some big baskets for Hersey's Mid-Suburban East championship girls basketball team.

On Monday at Elk Grove, she was making big pitches and delivering big hits, trying to help her softball team win a MSL East title.

Grabowy threw the final five innings of Hersey's dramatic 9-8 nine-inning Mid-Suburban East decision, earning her first victory.

The right-hander struck out nine, including two in the bottom of the ninth to help the Huskies (7-2, 3-1) hold off a Grenadiers team (6-4, 1-3) that rallied from an 8-0 deficit after four innings.

Elk Grove kept chipping away and tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single from Lewis pledge Ariana Trausch and a sacrifice fly by Hannah Kugelburg, on which Hersey junior center fielder Abby Bailitz made a beautiful diving catch in shallow center field to prevent a second run from scoring for the winning run.

"Such a great catch," Grabowy said of her classmate. “And she got up right to get the ball back in the field."

Grabowy then got a groundout to short to extend the game to extra innings.

Hersey got on the board in the top of the ninth when senior Kate Kaiser singled to center with two outs and came home when Bailitz reached on an outfield error.

"When we got that run, I knew I had to give it my all," said Grabowy, who also gave it her all the plate, going 3-for 4 with an RBI triple, double and single in four at-bats. "I was just concentrating my hardest and trying to do what I had to do for my team. I really wanted to win that game."

"What a nail-biter, huh?" said Hersey 17th-year coach Molly Freeman. "It is not easy to come in against the bats (Elk Grove) she had to face. And Ariya (Patel, the Huskies starter who was perfect for the first three innings) did her job, too. She pitched nine innings last Friday and tonight she started to throw a lot of pitches and we don't want to wear her down."

Hersey built its 8-0 lead with 4 runs in the first and fourth innings.

Gabby Felman and Patel each hit 2-run homers in the first inning.

Grabowy had an RBI triple in the fourth while Felman belted her second 2-run homer, giving her five for the season. Reese Izenstark (2-4) also had an RBI single in the inning.

EG chipped away at the lead getting four in the bottom of the fourth, two in the fifth and finally two in the bottom of the seventh. Aliya Garcia, who came in to pitch with one out in the top of the fourth, went 3-for-5 at the plate. Trausch was 2-for-4 while Lexi lGoerginger and Kugelburg each had 1 hit.

"The encouraging part is that we showed we can come back and we even had opportunities to pass them up at one point," said Elk Grove coach Ken Grams. "But they made the plays or the pitches. We couldn't quite get past the tie score. We were right there with them but we really have to beat them next time. And we still need some help along the way and we have to win what is in front of us."

Hersey's Izenstark and Felman each went 2-for-4 while Payton Kee was 2-for-5.

"We can't get comfortable," Freeman said of Hersey's early 8-0 cushion. "We've got to close out games. You've got to hit often. We try to win innings. Credit to Elk Grove. When we got a little tight, their kids got loose and we needed to stop the bleeding.

"I thought our pitchers worked well together and that's what we ask them to do. When we took Ariya out, we asked Grace (Grabowy) to step up and she did. That's what a team is."

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.