Hitters hold sway as Fremd tops Carmel
Get this: The first two hitters in Carmel's softball lineup on Tuesday combined for 7 hits, 2 doubles, 2 homers and 10 RBIs.
And it wasn't enough to keep Carmel's winning streak alive.
Maybe it was the good weather. There were 13 extra base hits in this battle of unbeatens at Fremd. There was also the matter of the 10 free passes the Fremd offense received as Carmel's 6-game winning streak ended in a 20-12 slugfest loss in Palatine.
Fremd's offense also had a good day. Every Viking starter reached base.
Coach Jim Weaver's club got solo homers from the last two spots in the lineup and a 3-run shot that crushed the foul pole by catcher Holly Straup.
Was there any decent pitching in this battle of powerful offenses?
Yes, and it came from a freshman. Batting eighth in Fremd's lineup, Nikki Kehoe retired five of the six hitters she faced in the late innings. Only the fourth hit off the bat of Carmel's Claire Petrus spoiled Kehoe's bid for perfection.
And Kehoe also put a softball over the wall for a solo homer in the third inning.
"That was only my second varsity hit,'' Kehoe said. "Coach Weaver believes in me. I knew I hit it but I didn't know if it would be gone."
Although the Vikings (4-0) won this game by 8 runs it wasn't all one-sided the whole way. A 5-run second by the Corsairs (6-1) was highlighted by the first of two homers by Petrus. This one was a 3-run shot.
"Last year when we played Carmel, it was a 10-7 game,'' Weaver said. "So we doubled that. Carmel has a really dangerous lineup. It was a back and forth game. This was good for us. We were pushed by a good team."
Trailing by 4 runs heading to the second, Fremd got the blast from Straup and took the lead back at 7-5. And then Fremd got help from both Kehoe and ninth-place hitter Lea Barrett. The consecutive homers gave the Vikings a 9-5 lead.
Carmel answered back in the fourth, falling a single short of a cycle in the frame. Petrus had the 2-run homer. Jenny Behan had the triple. Leadoff hitter, Jennifer Giesey (3 hits, 4 RBI) and Dani Delozier had the doubles.
Carmel added 3 runs in the fifth and looked in good shape, up 12-9.
"Hey, we walked 10 batters so there were a lot of gifts,'' said Carmel coach Jason Raymond. "With our offense, we are never out of games but we have to eliminate the walks."
Six of those bases on balls came in the nightmarish inning for the visitors. Fremd scored 11 runs in the fifth to put this game away. Julia Wacker and Jessica Mazur had doubles in the huge-scoring frame.
Kehoe used her fastball to cool off the Corsairs bats in the last two innings.
"We have a great bunch of girls,'' she said. "It's been a lot of fun. I love the coaches, too."