Softball: West Chicago keeps bats rolling at Glenbard West
If you are a high school softball team and your swing can't be found, it's a great feeling when it is located.
Life at the plate hasn't been easy for a good chunk of this season for West Chicago, but of late they have found their swing. The Wildcats belted out 14 hits Saturday in Glen Ellyn to hold off Glenbard West 11-10.
"The last three or four games we have hit really well, getting line drives and hitting in the gaps," said West Chicago coach Sean Gimpert. "We struggled with hitting the first month of the season."
The Wildcats (6-8) got right to work in the first inning, scoring 5 runs on 3 hits. An RBI single by Alyssa Szulczewski, an RBI double by from Natalie Mitchell and a 2-run double from Ashley Malay were the big blasts.
"We just keep our head in the game and focus on what's next," Mitchell said.
West Chicago kept the steps on home plate going in the second and third innings, tagging the Hilltoppers (2-10) for 3 runs in the second and 2 in the third.
A groundball out by Gianna Hernandez and RBI singles from Ariana Elizondo and Christina Trigueros drove in the 3 runs in the second.
Bri Pechman led off the third with her second ground-rule double of the game and that scored Malay, who had walked. Pechman came home later on a fielding error.
"We started off strong and are just doing what we work on in practice," Pechman said. "We just need to mentally go into a game and be prepared to hit."
The Hilltoppers responded slowly to the Wildcats' scoring spurts but hit the gas pedal later in the game.
Glenbard West scored a run each in the first through third innings. RBI hits came from Allison Ciero and Kiley Koziol.
The Hilltoppers pulled to within 10-7 in the fourth with a 4-run rally. Koziol and Kaitlyn Dumerer came through with the RBI basehits.
That was it for scoring for Glenbard West until the bottom of the seventh. Koziol reached on a fielding error and Sarah Pasinski ran for her. Cameryn Dutcher then tripled to center, scoring Pasinski. A groundball out from Angie Slager scored Dutcher. Then Mallory Small reached on a fielding error and was safe on a throw to the plate on a dropped third strike play.
Joy Ludwig was the winning pitcher for West Chicago. She struck out eight over seven innings. The eighth strikeout ended the game with the tying run on base for the Hilltoppers.
"Joy kept going out there and making her pitches. She put the team on her back, especially in the seventh inning and did what needed to be done," Gimpert said.
As for Glenbard West, the team showed again it will battle from the beginning to end of the game. Coach Mary McGrane said the team needs to start better, which has been a problem of late.
"It's been happening the past couple of games where we don't start off well," she said. "But what I love about this team is their internal fight. They don't give up."
Koziol came on in relief and pitched 5⅓ innings and struck out nine.
"She pitched well. It was her first game back after being sick this week. She likes that role, coming in in relief," McGrane said.