Softball: Algrim, Kaneland slow down Sycamore
A reliever always has to be ready to come into a game at a moment's notice. For Kaneland reliever Grace Algrim, that moment came after the first pitch against Sycamore on Monday.
McKenna Ryan was forced to leave the game by the umpire after a stud in her nose wouldn't come out, so Algrim came in for the Knights, allowing only two late runs to the Spartans in a 13-2 Kaneland win.
"I was very nervous, so I had to do it," Algrim said. "I had to get the job done."
After she walked Paige Collie, the Sycamore leadoff hitter, and hit Chelsea Smith, Algrim retired seven straight. She struck out eight in the run-rule shortened game.
"She did a great job," Kaneland coach Mike Kuefler said. "She didn't expect to start that game, and to come into it, we're happy with how she responded. She was sitting in the dugout cold. She had got warmed up earlier but sat down during infield/outfield. And she responded well."
After she escaped the jam in the first, Kaneland (5-1, 1-0 Interstate 8) staked her to a 6-0 lead. Emily Olp had a two-run double in the first as the Knights sent 11 batters to the plate.
The lead grew to 8-0 after three innings before Sycamore got on the board when Chelsea Born led off the fourth with a home run to deep center. Kaneland answered back with five more in the bottom of the fourth, including a three-run home run by Rose Roach and another two-run hit by Olp.
Collie capped the scoring with a solo homer to center in the top of the fifth.
"They are our two best hitters at getting themselves started in the box," Carpenter said. "We've been trying to work on that a lot. We're very stationary in the box, we're trying to get them started. Grace throws hard. If the ball is halfway home when you decide to start, it's not usually a good result. I'm not surprised Paige and Chelsea hit home runs because they are really good about getting active, and that leads to good results and good contact. And the wind helps."
The Spartans (0-6, 0-1) remained winless. Carpenter called the team a work in progress that has played a tough early-season schedule.
"It's hard when you're this inexperienced and you're being christened into the varsity world playing against Marengo, who's going to finish in the top 4 in 2A; Kaneland, who should be at state at 3A; Harlem and Hononegah, who are two of the best teams out of Rockford," Carpenter said. "These are really good teams, and we've always played a really hard schedule. And I think it's been eye-opening for some of our kids."
Algrim allowed three hits and didn't walk or hit a batter after the first inning.
The Knights pounded out 13 hits. Roach was 2 for 2 with two runs and three RBIs. MacKenzie Hardy was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI, while Olp had two hits, four RBIs and scored twice. Danyelle Borysiewicz added two hits and two runs for the Knights, while Lexi Workman scored twice for Kaneland.
"Absolutely we were hitting really well today," Algrim said, "which I absolutely loved."