Softball: Palatine takes down Fremd
Josh Teschner's assessment turned out to be spot on.
The Fremd softball coach said he knew that the middle of Palatine's batting order would make or break his team.
Sure enough, led by No. 2 hitter Emily Parrott and No. 3 Grace Huff, the host Pirates broke through early and never trailed in a 7-5 Mid-Suburban West decision Wednesday.
Parrott's one-out double to left-center field in the bottom of the first was followed by Huff's opposite field blast over the left field fence for a 2-0 lead.
"We didn't handle them (Parrott and Huff) well today," said Teschner, whose young club is 6-3 and 3-1 in the MSL West.
"I'm glad that my teammates were on base so I could hit them home," said Huff, who did exactly that in her three official at-bats with a 2-run homer, 2-run single and 1-run single for 5 RBI. "I just wanted to help my team out and hit the ball hard for them."
Center fielder Huff, who now has 7 homers and 29 RBI this spring, went 3-for-3 with a walk while shortstop Parrott was 2-for-3 with walk and a double.
Huff and Parrott combined for 5 of the Pirates' 7 hits. The other two came from leadoff batter Kaitlyn Reed and cleanup batter Amanda Stanczuk.
"The top of our lineup has been really consistent," said Palatine coach Nicole Capalbo, whose team is scheduled to play Conant on Thursday at the Ballpark at Rosemont where she played during her National Pro Fastpitch career.
"And Emily and Grace have done a good job in pressure situations all season."
Parrott played well in the field, too, collecting an assist and a putout in the second inning when the Pirates held Fremd scoreless despite 2 hits.
Parrott threw a rocket to catcher Anna Selleck to catch a runner trying to sneak home from third base. Parrott then took a throw from Selleck and put a nifty tag on the runner trying to steal second for the inning-ending out.
"We needed tough defense on them because they came out to play," said Parrott, whose teammate and right fielder Mandy Logan was celebrating her 17th birthday. "We all did a great job top to bottom."
Huff's RBI single made it 3-0 in the third inning before Stanczuk reached on an error which brought in the fourth run.
Reagan Goluch had an RBI double in the top of the fourth and Elaina Kraus added an RBI groundout to make it 4-2.
Palatine (12-1, 4-0) took it biggest lead at 7-2 with 3 runs in the bottom of the fourth, getting a sacrifice fly from freshman Kelly Beach and Huff's 2-run single.
Fremd closed out the scoring with 3 runs in the top of the fifth. The big at-bat was by the speedy Kayln McCarthy, who has already stolen 20 bases.
The freshman leadoff batter singled and after an outfield error on the play, McCarthy landed on third base in the blink of an eye.
"The Palatine and Fremd girls grow up playing together so it's always going to be a tight, close game," Capablo said. "I felt Fremd had a lot of momentum on their side at the end so we were fortunate to shut it down in the seventh inning and get out with a win."
Pirates left-hander Rhiann Dick (9-1) earned the win, striking out six.
"I thought there were a lot of plays that we should have made that we didn't," Capalbo said. "So that's something we have to focus on. Whenever Rhiann gives us an out, we have to make sure we get it."
Junior Kelsey Brauer went 3-for-3 for Fremd with a pair of doubles while McCarthy ended up 2-for-4.
Eva Jordan and Cali DiVito also had hits for the Vikes.
"I was really pleased in everything we did expect against their No. 2 and 3 hitters," said Teschner, who used Hailey Hazlett (3⅔ innings) and Grace Hiller (2⅓ innings) on the mound. "They have talented players, but so do we. I will put our lineup against any team in the state right now.
"It's a frustrating outcome but ultimately there is a lot to take away from the standpoint that we felt offensively we did what we were supposed to do. We were working for pitches against a pitcher who knows how to hit the strike zone."