Lake softball notes: Grayslake Central turning heads in early going

Grayslake Central made a recent statement with its 5-3 Northern Lake County Conference win against nationally ranked and Illinois state Class 3A No. 1 Antioch last week. The Rams brought an 8-4 mark into this week (3-1 NLCC).

“All the credit for the Antioch game goes to the preparation and focus the girls had leading up to that game,” Rams coach Jim Plaza said. “Antioch is a great team and Jacey Schuler is an incredible pitcher, but fortunately, Emma Andrews and Kate Davies were able to barrel up a couple of balls that went over the fence and got us on the board, and then Annie Wolff and Eliza Piggott did an awesome job with pitch-calling and sequencing to get weak contact. It was probably Annie’s best-pitched game of her high school career. The defense behind her made plays all day. It was a full team effort.”

In a 6-game stretch last week, Central hit .396 and scored 66 runs. The team’s 2-5 hitters, Andrews, Piggott, Kate Davies and Wolff combined for 14 home runs during those games. Andrews, Piggott and Davies each hit 4 homers last week with Andrews racking up 9 runs scored and 10 RBI. Piggott is hitting .485 with 8 homers and 19 RBI. Andrews is at .429 with 6 homers and 14 RBI. Wolff is hitting .375 with 2 homers and 9 RBI and Davies is hitting .375 with 4 homers and 10 RBI. Trinity Breault threw a no-hitter and struck out 12 against Round Lake, while Kaitlynne Faust threw a complete-game shutout against Glenbrook South.

Antioch update: The Sequoits beat state-ranked teams Yorkville (4-3) and Richmond-Burton (7-3) and sat at 10-1 and 1-1 in NLCC action heading into this week.

Schuler hit the 900 career strikeout mark with 15 against Grayslake North and then struck out 20 batters last weekend to sit at 920.

Aubrey Ultsch hit .625 with 4 doubles and 6 runs scored during a recent 3-game stretch, while Addison Webb hit .667 with a double and 3 RBI during a 4-game stretch. Schuler leads the team in hitting at .455 and has 9 wins, a 1.46 ERA and 129 strikeouts in the circle. Tegan Schuler (13 runs), Jadynn Ruiz (11 RBI, 7 steals) and Sam Hillner (5 extra-base hits, 10 walks) lead Antioch in their mentioned statistical categories. Antioch has made only 4 errors in 11 games and sports a .984 fielding percentage. “Our pitching has been outstanding and the same with our defense,” coach Anthony Rocco said. “Our offense needs to improve, but we are still relatively young with 5 sophomores and 1 freshman in the first seven spots in the order. That will continue to be the focal point the rest of the season.”

Carmel update: Leadoff hitter Aly Krogman (.500 batting average) and Emma Carney (team-high 13 RBI) are getting it done at the plate for the Corsairs (5-6, 2-2 East Suburban Catholic). “Emma is being aggressive at the plate and has done a great job catching behind the plate,” Carmel coach Nicole Parney said. “Aly has made some stellar plays at shortstop, has taken on a bigger pitching role and is doing amazing.” Bella Cameron also was cited for excellence, displaying great composure and command of her pitches and has been aggressive at the plate, Parney said.

Grayslake North update: Sophomore third baseman Jane Pritchard is hitting .458, while junior Lauren Gaeding is hitting .323 with 3 homers. “Jane is the player that is put anywhere on the field,” coach Amanda Rodriguez explained. “So far, she has played third, catcher, second and pitcher. She is always willing to do whatever for the team and she is our offensive leader. Lauren is our steady center fielder and hits in the first spot. She usually puts the ball in play and makes amazing catches in the outfield.”

Lake Zurich update: A recent 8-6 win over Libertyville helped the Bears move to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in North Suburban action. Lake Zurich has been bolstered by offensive production from the likes of senior second baseman Morgan Lesniewicz (.478), senior first baseman Alli Koepler (.500), junior left fielder Izzy Vodicka (.480) and sophomore Clarie Kohlman (.524).

Libertyville update: The Wildcats started the week 7-7 and 2-2 in North Suburban Conference action. Taylor Higham has 78 strikeouts in the circle, plus is hitting .487 with 11 RBI, hitting at the top of the order. Senior center fielder Linsey Loizzo has been a steady presence all season defensively and hitting out of the leadoff spot, coach Sean Ferrell explained.

“We need to continue to clean up our defense to support our pitching,” Ferrell said. “I am proud of how hard we play and compete at all times under all circumstances. We have a very coachable group that wants to get better and they put in the effort to do so.”

Mundelein update: The Mustangs entered the week as the lone undefeated team remaining in the Lake County coverage area at 11-0 (3-0 North Suburban with wins over Stevenson, Warren and Libertyville). Sophomore center fielder Kieley Tomas is hitting .575 with an on-base percentage of .605, while junior Claire Connelly leads the teams in RBI (19), homers (3) and went a perfect 3-for-3 with a double against Libertyville. Junior Sophia Zepeda went 6-for-8 with a 2 doubles, a home run and 5 RBI in a recent 2-game span, while senior Karina Benes went 5-for-7 with a homer and 5 RBI in another recent 2-game stretch. Sophomore pitcher Shae Johnson, during a recent 3-game run, fanned 35 in 19 2/3 innings. She also homered in a key spot against Libertyville.

Stevenson update: The Patriots are 6-6 overall and 2-1 in North Suburban play (including a recent 15-4 win over Libertyville). Jasmine Lucero (.459 batting average) and Alyssa Shimanski (.421) are Stevenson’s offensive leaders, while coach Vera Pflugradt noted Sara Saiki has been doing well at the plate and in the outfield. Amanda Turofsky has been stepping up at the plate and having great at-bats, Pflugradt added.

Vernon Hills update: An 11-5 Central Suburban North win over Niles North and a 5-3 nonconference win over Grant helped improve the Cougars to 5-7-1 overall. Morgan Hart is hitting .444 with an .833 slugging percentage. She leads Vernon Hills with 16 hits and 14 RBI, and coach Jan Pauly noted she’s played first base flawlessly. Brett Yuter is hitting .400 (.500 on-base) and has been a solid gloveman in right field. Izzy Loiben is hitting .385 (.590 slugging) with 15 hits and 12 RBI, and also was cited for strong outfield play. Hart and Loiben have homered in recent games. Samone Stevens has impressed with two strong pitching outings recently coming off an injury. She has a 3.50 ERA and opponents are hitting .218 against her. “Samone is pitching with control and keeping hitters off-balance,” Pauly said.

Warren update: The Blue Devils scored key wins against Fremd, Marengo and Oswego East last week to move to 9-3 overall (2-1 North Suburban). Katie Monroe and Hannah Conger are both batting over .400. Conger has 7 home runs and 22 RBI, while Monroe has 11 RBI, 8 runs scored and a .541 on-base percentage. Sophomore pitcher Joshlynn Kirkwood threw complete games in wins against Fremd and Marengo. She struck out six against Marengo. Monroe, a junior catcher, went 4-for-8 in the games at Marengo with a homer, a double, 2 runs scored and 5 RBI.

Wauconda update: The Bulldogs are off to a solid 9-5 start (3-1 in NLCC play) after a key league win over Lakes and a twin-bill sweep of Cary-Grove in a regional final rematch from a year ago.

Alyssa Threde (.523 batting, 23 hits), Ellary Nick (3 home runs) and Lesliegh Reimers (67 strikeouts in 44 innings, 3.34 ERA) lead the way. Coach Tim Orisek added that Threde, a junior, has been stellar since moving to leadoff, hitting .474 with 9 hits (2 doubles) over a recent 6-game stretch. Freshman Madison May was clutch with 7 RBI last week, while Nick hit those 3 homers during a recent 3-game run. Seniors Alyssa Vodicka, Reimers and Nick, a junior, have been solid in the circle, Orisek noted. “I really feel we haven’t reached our potential yet,” he said. “We continue to get better every game.”

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