Softball: Pyburn, Antioch find a way vs. Grayslake Central
For Antioch's Abby Pyburn, a power slapper, it's about more than finding holes in the defense. It's about finding motivation, knowing opponents are out to knock off the defending conference champs.
That helps explain why Pyburn, a DePauw commit and senior second baseman, wasn't overly excited about the Sequoits' early success on the softball field.
"At the beginning of the year we started out well, but we started out rocky, too," Pyburn said. "A bunch of us girls had a talk, and I told them we need to be motivated because we have a huge target on our back."
That might have been construed as a slap in the face by the slap hitter, but the Sequoits have apparently taken Pyburn's words to heart.
Antioch jumped on visiting Grayslake Central early in Thursday's Northern Lake County Conference showdown and never trailed in winning 12-7. Pyburn led a 15-hit attack by going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and 4 runs scored. Hailey Webb was 3-for-4 with a double and 4 RBI.
"I knew this was a huge game," said Pyburn, a three-year varsity player. "I was definitely nervous coming into this game, but I knew we could pull through."
Defending NLCC champ Antioch improved to 13-1-1 and 4-1, while snapping Grayslake Central's nine-game winning streak and handing the Rams (12-3, 4-1) their first conference loss.
"Give Antioch credit," Grayslake Central coach Jason Schaal said. "They're a good team, and they hit the ball today."
So did the Rams. Lefty-hitting Madeline Peterson homered over the fence in center field with Ashlynn Coleman aboard in the second inning off Sequoits ace Jeri Bonaguidi. Avery Nims' opposite-field homer to right with two on pulled the visitors within 7-5 in the fifth. Nims had 4 RBI on the day.
Grayslake Central also got doubles from Rachel Smigielski and Elisa Koshy, who was 1-for-1 with 3 walks (two intentional), and 2 hits from Kennedy Stoffel.
"We're going to hit the ball," Schaal said. "I have full faith in this group that we're going to put the ball in play."
Antioch hit Rams ace Grace Bradley immediately. Slap-hitting Ashlyn Sundell led off the Sequoits first with an infield single, the first of 6 hits in the inning. Piper Foote, Avery Malicki and Webb all had RBI doubles, and Megan Lawrence and Pyburn delivered run-scoring singles, as Antioch bolted to a 5-0 lead.
"Top to bottom, especially our bottom of the order, has been heating up lately," Sequoits coach Anthony Rocco said. "We flipped Avery (Malicki) and Rilee (Schreiner) in the 6-7 spots, and it's worked for us, and the last five games or so Hailey (Webb) has been hitting the heck out of the ball in the (No.) 8 spot, and (Faith) Miller has been doing the same thing (in the No. 9 spot)."
As it has done previously this season, Grayslake Central displayed resiliency. Even after Antioch answered Nims' 3-run homer with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 9-5, the Rams kept coming. They got an RBI groundout from Nims in the sixth and a run-scoring single from Bridget Marshall in the seventh.
But Antioch had all but put the game away with its 3-run sixth, which was highlighted by Webb's two-out, 2-run single. Sundell and Schreiner were both 2-for-4 for Antioch, which overcame 5 errors.
"This was a great game," Pyburn said. "I love these games."
Mundelein 2, Libertyville 1: Tess McKay was 3-for-3 with a double off the left-field fence, Kellie Shanahan: went 3-for-4 with a double, and Mundelein beat Libertyville 2-1 in North Suburban Conference action Thursday.
Mustangs starting pitcher Kira Buckner pitched all 7 innings, striking out eight, walking one and allowing 5 hits. Elise Bernett had a double for Mundelein (9-6, 5-0), and Molly Podraza was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Libertyville pitcher Amanda Page struck out two and walked one in her 6 innings. Aliya Haddon was 2-for-3 with a double for the Wildcats.
Wauconda 12, Round Lake 0: Kayla Serio and Rachel Peat threw a combined 2-hitter, as the Bulldogs won the Northern Lake County Conference game in five innings.
Wauconda (2-9) got doubles from Julia Fohlmeister, Angelica Cho, Kayla Serio, Alexis De La Roca and Taylor Koehler. De La Roca (2 RBI) and Cho (RBI) were both 2-for-3, and Calli Janik was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Koehler drove in 3 runs.
Grant 12, Lakes 1: Calista Warmowski was 3-for-3 with a triple, double and an RBI, Sarah Gallivan went 2-for-3 with a homer, double and 3 RBI, and the Bulldogs won the Northern Lake County Conference game in five innings.
Grant (10-8-1, 3-2) also got contributions offensively from Becca Fabry (2-for-3, 2 RBI), Liz Schram (2-for-3, triple, double, 3 RBI), Megan Mitchell (double, RBI) and Gabby Rogalevich (double). Juliana Reynolds scattered 4 hits in her 5 innings in the circle and did not allow an earned run.
Kaneland 13, Barrington 3 (5 inn.): The downstate Washington tourney brought together the No. 14 team in Class 4A (Barrington) and No. 12 in Class 3A (Kaneland), which improved to 10-3.
Barrington (10-2) was limited to 3 hits, a triple from freshman Brynn Nevers and singles by senior Kendall Peterson and freshman Sydney Granby.
Fillies senior Barbara Covek (9-2) struck out three in 2⅓ innings while Jackie Albrecht also had 3 strikeouts in the final 2⅔ innings.