Softball: Metea Valley optimistic despite defeat
Even in defeat, Metea Valley pitcher Elise Titiner saw enough good things on the diamond to make her excited for the rest of the 2016 softball season.
The Mustangs fell behind a hard-hitting Joliet Catholic Academy team 5-1 in the second inning of Saturday's first game of a nonconference doubleheader in Aurora. But the Mustangs kept on battling, closing to within 6-4 in the fourth before eventually falling 9-5. Metea Valley recorded 9 hits and Titiner's solid relief effort was only marred by the Angels' 3-run seventh inning that came after the first two batters had been retired.
"It didn't go the way we hoped, but to come out against a team like that that's just clean and knows what they're doing, to see that we can fight back, was nice," Titiner said. "We worked together and it's nice to see the runs going up. It makes me really excited to see what's going to happen."
Making her first varsity start, Metea Valley freshman pitcher Alyssa Joyner worked out of a two-on, none-out jam in the top of the first thanks in part to Mustangs catcher Kara Leckinger, who ended the inning by picking off a Joliet Cathollic baserunner who had wondered too far off first base.
But the Angels' second inning started off with a home run off the bat of freshman Jen Krizka, and when the next five hitters reached safely, Titiner took over in the circle with the bases loaded and no outs. Titiner used a force out at home to get the first out, but a single and sacrifice fly scored two more runs to make the score 5-1 before the Mustangs started to chip away at Joliet Catholic pitcher Alyssa Callans (2-0).
Lisa Harrington's double in the first had scored Megan Archey with the game's first run, and the 3-run fourth that got the Mustangs (1-1) back in the game was highlighted by Leckinger's 2-run single. But Callans got the final out to strand two Mustangs, something that happened all too often for the home team.
"We left a lot of runners on base," said Metea Valley leadoff hitter Sydney Bajusz, who reached base safely three times. "We did a good job of getting on base. We just need to get them in. We need that last push toward a run."
Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas, who turned to Joyner to start the nightcap, was glad to see her team make good solid contact, even if they left nine runners on base.
"Offensively, we had a good showing, but we still stranded too many runners with who we wanted at the plate," she said. "They'll come around. It's early and the more live pithing we see the more we'll capitalize."
The Angels, on the other hand, took advantage of most of their opportunities to score 9 runs on 10 hits. Bajusz did throw a Joliet Catholic runner out at the plate in the fourth with a great throw, but in the end the Angels had too much firepower.
"They're a great hitting team," Kalivas said. "I thought defensively we made some great plays to get us out of some innings, which helped. Credit to them. They capitalized and hit the ball anytime that we walked them or hit them."