Softball: Lakes upsets Grayslake North
It has been a tough season overall for the Lakes softball team, but the Eagles really came to play Tuesday afternoon in the semifinals of the Class 3A Grayslake North regional.
No. 11-seeded Lakes (7-19) took advantage of the long ball. The Eagles built an early 6-1 lead before rolling to an 11-2 victory over the No. 5-seeded Knights.
Lakes will play No. 4 Carmel (16-12) for the regional championship at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Trailing 1-0 after a solo homer by Grayslake North senior Nicole Hughes in the bottom of the first, the Eagles jumped all over Grayslake North starting pitcher Amber Takaki in the top of the second. Lakes' Riley Hanrahan was hit by a pitch, Jackie Kohler reached on an error, and winning pitcher Cassidy Berchtold hit a 3-run homer over the right-field fence for a 3-1 lead.
The Knights (11-10) fell behind 6-1 as Emily Ovaska reached on a fielder's choice, McKenzie Matzl doubled, and Brooke Goyings singled home Ovaska. Matzl scored on a passed ball for a 5-1 lead before a sacrifice fly by Grace Dunsworth drove in Goyings.
"They (Lakes) were aggressive on the bases, they had a couple of great hits against us, and we just didn't adjust at the plate," said Grayslake North assistant coach Jill Fox, whose team was without injured senior starting pitcher Gianna Certa. "It was a decent season, but we have a lot to grow on for next season."
After a single by Dunsworth in the bottom of the fifth, senior C.C.Fleming hit a 2-run homer over the scoreboard in right-center against reliever Maddie Von Allmen for an 8-1 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Goyings singled and Dunsworth doubled before Fleming knocked a 3-run homer out of the park in right-center just to the left of the scoreboard for the first 2-home run game of her career.
"I started off the game kind of slow going 0-2 in the beginning. Then I just made sure I made adjustments at the plate," said Fleming. "Our pitcher (Berchtold) pitched out of her mind today, I think she had 15 strikeouts and it's really motivating when you're at the plate and takes the pressure off of you because you just sit back and have fun. We're feeling pretty good (heading into Friday), and we just need make sure we're not kicking the ball around and stay focused."
Berchtold was fantastic on the mound with 15 strikeouts and only 4 hits allowed. Hughes (3-for-3) hit her second homer in the sixth over the fence in center to account for the final score.
"This team can go as far as we want to. We have every piece of the nucleus, and we're starting to mesh and play together," said Lakes coach Bill Hamill, whose team outhit the Knights 12-4. "We'll hit off anybody, that's something that will never leave us. And I have confidence in one through nine through my lineup. It's just having enough confidence and faith in themselves to make the plays on defense."