Softball: Glenbard South honors former player, splits with Lake Park

 
By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/4/2019 5:57 PM
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  • Lake Park's Allyson Fricano is late with the tag at second as Glenbard South's Catherine Karr slides in safely in the varsity softball matchup on Saturday at Glenbard South.

      Lake Park's Allyson Fricano is late with the tag at second as Glenbard South's Catherine Karr slides in safely in the varsity softball matchup on Saturday at Glenbard South. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard South's coach Julie Fonda chokes back tears as she reads a memorial for their former player Aimee Gerhardt of Glenbard South who passed away some time ago and was remembered  before the varsity softball matchup on Saturday against Lake Park.

      Glenbard South's coach Julie Fonda chokes back tears as she reads a memorial for their former player Aimee Gerhardt of Glenbard South who passed away some time ago and was remembered before the varsity softball matchup on Saturday against Lake Park. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard South's coach Julie Fonda choked  back tears as she reads a memorial for their former player Aimee Gerhardt of Glenbard South who passed away some time ago and was remembered  before the varsity softball matchup on Saturday against Lake Park with a team picture with family members.

      Glenbard South's coach Julie Fonda choked back tears as she reads a memorial for their former player Aimee Gerhardt of Glenbard South who passed away some time ago and was remembered before the varsity softball matchup on Saturday against Lake Park with a team picture with family members. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Glenbard South and Lake Park softball teams took turns outhitting each other in a nonconference doubleheader Saturday.

Glenbard South won the first game 15-5, and Lake Park took the nightcap 19-2.

But before all those highlights came an example of the bond between current and former players in the Raiders' program.

A ceremony to honor Aimee Gerhardt started the day. Gerhardt, an all-conference and all-state infielder for the Raiders and a member of Glenbard South's 2012 and 2013 state championship teams, passed away from cancer last November at age 23. Members of her family were on hand Saturday.

Fonda coached Gerhardt and said many of her qualities are evident in current players and were especially present in Game 1.

"They showed the intensity and effort that Aimee would have shown," she said.

Fonda said a permanent plaque honoring Gerhardt will be attached to the Raiders' dugout soon.

The tribute to Gerhardt was on the minds of the Glenbard South players.

"We wanted do well in Aimee's tribute games," said Elizabeth Cizek, who put a grand slam into orbit in Game 1.

Both teams were victorious Friday in their first games since a week-long weather-related layoff, but both squads looked like they've gotten plenty of practice in the batting cage. The teams combined to hit 6 home runs.

A special memorial for former player Aimee Gerhardt of Glenbard South who passed away was presented outside the home team's dugout before the varsity softball matchup on Saturday against Lake Park.
  A special memorial for former player Aimee Gerhardt of Glenbard South who passed away was presented outside the home team's dugout before the varsity softball matchup on Saturday against Lake Park. - Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Glenbard South (14-3) wasted no time in Game 1 with the big hit. Jocelyn Leerschen belted a 3-run homer over the left-field fence to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead. They never trailed in the six-inning game.

"We just wanted to come out swinging as hard as we could," Leerschen said.

She hit her second homer in the Raiders' 7-run third and finished the opening game with a RBI groundout in the fifth.

The biggest smash for Glenbard South in that third inning was Cizek's grand slam. She hit a 2-run double the inning before.

"It was after so many games canceled because of the rain. We wanted to make contact," Cizek said of the Raiders' desire to hit.

"I have not seen that many combined home runs here before. (Power hitting) is not my mantra," Fonda said.

Glenbard South's Jocelyn Leerschen rounds third base on her over the left field fence homer against Lake Park in the varsity softball matchup on Saturday at Glenbard South.
  Glenbard South's Jocelyn Leerschen rounds third base on her over the left field fence homer against Lake Park in the varsity softball matchup on Saturday at Glenbard South. - Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Winning pitcher Daniella Little struck out 10, including the side in the second.

"She threw as best we've seen all season," Lancers coach Tom Mazzie said of Little. "She kept us off-balance and was hitting her spots and moving the ball around."

Lake Park's main highlights in the opening contest were Natalie Grubczak's 3-run homer in the third and Eliza Belter's solo shot in the fourth.

Game 2 showed that the Lancers (17-8) were in no mood to be swept.

"We knew with what happened in Game 1 that we needed to be more aggressive," said Abbey Frank, who hit a 2-run homer in the Lake Park 8-run fourth.

The Lancers led 8-2 after three innings and belted six hits in the fourth. Abby Rodriguez hit a 2-run double that inning as did Brianna Pisauro, who hit the first of two 2-run doubles in the fourth.

"I've been struggling the past few games," Pisauro said of her hitting.

She was the winning pitcher in the five-inning battle, striking out four.

Mazzie said hitting is always a big focus for Lake Park, especially in practice. Like every other team in the area, the Lancers have had plenty of practice time.

"Ninety percent (of practice) is just hitting. We want the girls to have good at-bats and confidence. If the pitch is slow or fast, we want the team to have the ability to adjust," he said.

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