Softball: Bartlett snaps South Elgin’s 22-game UEC streak

Emma Engels’ three-run homer in the top of the fifth was the difference-maker in the Hawks’ 8-5 Upstate Eight Conference win over South Elgin Monday.

The junior’s 2-out dinger capped Bartlett’s second come-from-behind rally in the game.

With the victory, the Hawks snapped the Storm’s 22-game conference streak that dates back to last year. South Elgin’s last Upstate Eight loss was a 3-2 decision to Larkin on April 23, 2023.

Bartlett (14-6, 7-2) scored four runs in the top of the fourth to pull ahead, 4-3. In the Storm’s half of the frame, Bella Florio’s double to the left field gap plated two runs and put her team back on top 5-4.

Lauren Ligouri and starting pitcher Christina Stankus, the Hawks’ first two batters in the fifth inning, reached base on a single and walk. Ligouri came around on twin Olivia’s double to left.

South Elgin (15-8, 10-1) starting pitcher Anna Kiel then fanned Bartlett’s other set of twins, Grace and Julia Wilkens. Engles followed and with a full count, blasted the ball over the center field fence.

“I was up 3-0 and then got some pitches. One got called a strike and I fouled off another one. With the count 3-2, I knew that if I put the ball into play, good this would happen,” Engles said. “With two strikes, I was just looking to protect (the plate). I got my pitch, and I was able to hammer it.”

Stankus, who went the distance for the win, took time to admire Engles’ shot before crossing the plate.

“I was on third base. I didn't even touch home before the ball went over the fence,” said the Hawks pitcher. “I was sitting there staring at the ball. It was so exciting.”

In addition to Engel’s timely hitting, Stankus’ pitching was critical to Bartlett’s win.

“Emma Engles was a big key. Everything she hit was hard today, and that's awesome, especially against a pitcher like Anna,” Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. “I thought Christina was just nails on the mound. For the most part I thought we played great defense. When you do those things, you got a chance to win games.”

South Elgin coach Brad Reynard. said a freak accident in the stands may have momentarily distracted Storm players. Two South Elgin instructors attending the game as part of Teacher Appreciation Day were struck by a foul ball in the top of the fourth. One teacher needed stitches according to Reynard.

“We had four errors after the double teacher knocking in the head ball and our kids just lost focus,” the Storm coach said. “That was part of the conversation we had after the game — how quickly you can lose momentum.”.

After the incident, the South Elgin infield misplayed a grounder allowing two runs to score.

The Storm took an early lead, scoring three times in their first at-bat. A double by Amber Gnutek and singles by Chloe Ricard and Jenna Sheehan plated the runs.

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.