Softball: Palatine wins a tight one with Fremd
Palatine softball coach Nicole Capalbo knew exactly what to expect when her team took the field to face Fremd on Monday.
"A lot of these girls grew up playing with each other or against each other," Capalbo said. "Whenever it's Fremd vs Palatine, it's going to be a dogfight and a fun game to watch."
She couldn't have described it better.
Fremd dramatically tied the Mid-Suburban West game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning when Jess Mazur belted her single-season school-record 10th home run with no outs after Grace Stevens drew a leadoff walk.
However, winning pitcher Sarah Grossman made sure the score stayed that way.
The senior right-hander went on to complete a 4-hitter when the Pirates strung together three straight hits to start the bottom of the seventh for a 3-2 win.
Maddie Carver lined a single to right. Emily Parrott followed with a single to right center, allowing Craver to reach third base.
Grace Huff then punched a walk-off single to left center that got Craver home.
The Pirates raised their record to 19-4 and 11-1 in the West while Fremd stands at 15-7 and 7-5.
"As long as we made the plays and could get out of that inning without giving up any more runs (after Mazur's 28th career homer), I knew we had the top of the order coming up," Grossman said. "I knew they could do the job and string some hits together."
The Pirates visit Fremd today, Conant on Wednesday and return home on Thursday to face Barrington (23-2, 13-0), which gave Palatine its only loss in the West.
"We've got to keep working hard," said shortstop Parrott, who made a nifty 6-3 double play when she fielded a grounder, stepped on second and threw to first baseman Amanda Stanczuk to end the top of the sixth. "It's a big week for us."
The Pirates left two runners on base in the second and third inning but Fremd senior Nikki Kehoe (7-2) used 2 two strikeouts to get out of the second and a beautiful double play in the third to end that threat. Hannah Ban caught Brittany Padden's flyball and then threw a strike to catcher Lexi D'Ambrosio, who made the tag on the runner who'd tagged up.
Palatine finally broke through in the fifth inning when Parrott singled home Kaitlyn Reed, who reached on an error.
Another error in the sixth helped the Pirates add an insurance run, thanks to Stanczuk's double off the center field fence."
"It's been the story of our season -- our defenses collapses in an inning or two and we give away the game, "said Fremd coach Josh Teschner. "We let another team beat us with unearned runs. We did it against Conant last week and today against an excellent Palatine team. There's no question that the pressure sometimes gets to us. But as good as they are, we gave away the game. We have to stop doing that."
Grossmann struck out seven of the first nine batters she faced and finished with 11 for the game.
"They're a good team," Capalbo said of Fremd. "They have good hitters. To hold a team like that to 2 runs, Sarah did a phenomenal job. She was spinning the ball and hitting her spots. Mazur got her but Sarah was consistent and our defense played well behind her."
In addition to Mazur's long ball, D'Ambrosio, McKenna Schneider and Gianni Arnieri (double) also had hits for Fremd.
Leading Palatine were Craver (2-for-5), Parrott (2-for-3, walk) and Stanczuk (2-for-3, double).
"It feels good to get this win," said Grossman, now 14-1. "We've got to keep stringing hits together. We've got to take care of business the rest of the week."