Softball: Lake Park's humming a happy tune after win over St. Charles East
After getting in the batter's box with too many thoughts racing through her head, Lake Park's Lexi Szostak came up with a unique solution.
"I've been starting to sing at the plate and it really helps me from overthinking," said Szostak, who quickly sang a couple lyrics from her favorite song. "And I just focus on hitting the pitch. It works."
It certainly did Monday at St. Charles East in the DuKane Conference opener for both teams. Szostak smacked a 3-run home run in the second inning and added a 2-run single in the seventh, helping the Lancers open an 8-0 lead en route to a 10-6 victory.
Szostak finished 3-for-4 at the plate with 5 RBI. She had company in putting up big numbers on a day the wind was gusting straight out.
Madelyn Fricano put Lake Park (7-3, 1-0) ahead 2-0 in the first inning with a towering home run to right field, which also scored Michela Barbanente who had drawn a walk.
Fricano went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI.
"It was right down the middle so I just took a nice swing at it," Fricano said of the pitch she hit off Saints starter Madelyn Rouse. "I don't think I swung that hard to be honest. It just went off the bat and took off."
Seeing his team put double-digit runs on the board is nothing new to Lancers coach Tom Mazzie.
He was more impressed with the work Reagan Goffron and Szostak did on the mound.
"We've been scoring runs this year," Mazzie said. "Our problems have been defensively and on the mound. We've put up 10 and lost.
"What was amazing today was Reagan getting on the mound, getting ahead, throwing strikes, that's something we haven't been doing. Lexi gets ahead of hitters. All these teams can hit."
Goffron pitched the first five innings and Szostak the final two. Goffron struck out five and didn't walk a batter, allowing four runs.
"The wind was blowing in all our faces but we powered through it," Goffron said. "We did a really good job today. "
St. Charles East (7-3, 0-1) has been rotating pitchers this season, and brought ace Katie Arrambide in with two outs in the third trailing 8-0. Arrambide was lights out for the next 4 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit and striking out 9. She gave her team time to rally, which they did pulling within 8-5.
But in the seventh the top of Lake Park's order got to Arrambide, on a single by Caper, back-to-back bunt singles by Barbanente and Fricano, and then a 2-run single to left field from Szostak.
"She (Arrambide) came in and we haven't faced a pitcher even close to her," Mazzie said. "The swings were long and loopy and we were whiffing, whiffing, whiffing and then we got shorter, shorter, shorter and started putting the ball in play and good things happened.
"That's (St. Charles East) going to be a 1, 2 seed in our sectional so really nice to get a 'W.""
Arrambide and Kati Gheorghe homered for St. Charles East. Chelsea Campagna and Kayla Richardson both had 3 hits.
"We knew were going to score runs off them, I didn't think that was going to be an issue," Saints coach Jarod Gutesha said. "When we were behind 8-0 it wasn't panic mode. I knew we were going to score runs and put pressure on them and we did.
"There's a long way to go. We play such a jam-packed schedule."