Softball: Lake Park rallies past Geneva on Sturino's blast
There's been plenty of twists and turns in the first DuKane Conference softball race, just like Lake Park's 6-4 win at Geneva Monday.
The Lancers needed the victory to set up a winner-take-all showdown with St. Charles East at home Wednesday for the DuKane title.
Geneva didn't make it easy, scoring 4 four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-2 lead that the Vikings held until Alyssa Sturino blasted a 3-run home run in the sixth inning.
"I was just thinking to put the ball in play, get the ball in the outfield," Sturino said. "Just kept my hands inside. I just try to put it hard in play."
Sturino's homer, her seventh this year, turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.
Geneva put the first two runners on in the seventh on an infield single and an error before starting pitcher Natalie Grubczak notched back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to third base to complete the comeback win.
"This team doesn't give up," Grubczak said. "We could be down by 10 and I still think we could come back."
Lake Park (20-11, 10-3) got off to a good start against Shelly Deisz. Sturino doubled off the fence on the first pitch of the game and scored on Abby Rodriguez's single. Abbey Frank added an RBI double for a 2-0 lead.
Geneva (9-11, 7-5) scored all its runs in the first. Sam Keller walked, Carissa Bombardiere singled and Emily Viebrock plated Keller with a single. After Alyssa Kramer's RBI groundout tied the game at 2, Sydney Erdmann's single gave Geneva a 3-2 lead, and Madison Femia knocked in the fourth run with a single.
Grubczak shut down the Vikings from there allowing just 2 more hits over the final 6 innings.
"Their pitcher got tough on us the rest of the way," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "They have a lot of good sticks. It's hard calling pitches. There's not many holes in their swings. We played good softball for the most part overall."
Lake Park closed within 4-3 on a Gabby Vargas RBI single in the fourth.
Singles by Breanna Caper and Alexa Frale in the sixth put the runners on base for Sturino to drive home with her game-deciding home run.
"She can put it out at any time," Lake Park coach Tom Mazzie said. "Just a monster game.
"Every team in our conference takes such good swings. Doesn't matter how fast you throw, how you spin it. You just have to weather the storm sometimes. We just kind of grinded. I was proud of our at-bats. Defense played well. Timely hitting. Just good softball."
Sturino, Rodriguez, Frank and Caper all had 2 hits for Lake Park who will try to reverse an earlier 9-0 loss to St. Charles East on Wednesday.
"They have big bats," Grubczak said. "They swing for the fences. And their pitcher has a good rise ball. We will work on that in the cages."
Viebrock and Femia combined for 4 of Geneva's 6 hits.
"It's not like we can't win the game but they outplayed us both games and that's why they are ahead of us in the standings," Dierks said.