Softball: Gawlinski, Maine West trip up Hersey
Next spring, Abby Gawlinski will be playing softball for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where she plans to study history.
The Maine West senior ace hurler says she'd like to go into education or "'something like a museum curator."'
For now, she is putting quite an impressive list of pitching credentials on display.
"She is averaging a good number of strikeouts," said Warriors coach Jim Dvorak.
At Saturday morning's nonconference game in Arlington Heights, Gawlinski recorded 10 as the Warriors edged host Hersey 4-3 on the Huskies' Senior Day.
The right-hander recently collected 18 strikeouts in a win over Maine East and a few games later crafted a perfect game against Deerfield on Thursday.
Not bad for someone who was hit hard on her knee by a line drive earlier this spring, forcing her out of action.
"It was the Maine South game and she was out for a while," Dvorak said. "She is just getting back in form. She is a tough kid who handles the pain. It took a little time to get her back in motion.
"In that same game, we lost one of our best hitters (Ashley DeSilva) for the season. She was scoring a run and stepped on home plate funny and turned her ACL. She just had surgery."
West's multiple hitters on Saturday were junior Kayla Byerly (2-for-4) and senior Katy Wilczysnki (2-for-4, RBI single).
"We've moved Kayla into the leadoff spot and she has been doing a nice job," Dvorak said. "She is usually patient and her on-base percentage is very high. I was also very happy with Katy Wilczynski. She almost hit out one out (double off the left field wall)."
Maine West (6-7) scored twice in the first and third innings and led 4-1 heading into the sixth inning.
Hersey (3-7) got to within 4-2 in the sixth on Lauren Steininger's infield single. Diving to her right, freshman second baseman Leiah Cardona did a nice job preventing the ball from reaching the outfield.
"We recently brought her up to the varsity and she is doing great," said Dvorak, whose team also got 1 hit apiece from Nikki Letzkus (team leader with 3 home runs), Angeles Beiza, Emily Divelbiss and Gillian Herman.
"We are very happy with Leiah."
Hersey fans were happy when the Huskies got to within 4-3 in the seventh. Netti Napoli (line drive single to left) eventually came home when Kate Adamski reached on an error.
The hosts had the tying run on third base when Gawlinski (6-5) recorded her tenth strikeout to complete a 5-hitter with 2 walks.
"We just all pick each other up," she said. "That's something we focus on and we did a really good job at that."
Also getting hits for Hersey were Shaily Patel, Livia Christopher and Brooke Sharlau.
Starter Sabrina DiVito went the first five innings and her sophomore classmate Easha Patel retired six of the seven batters she faced in the final two innings.
"I thought both of our sophomore pitchers threw well," said Hersey coach Molly Freeman. "We made some errors that we needed to make plays on. Maine West did a real nice job of putting the ball in play and making contact. Our hitting philosophy is always to be aggressive early and swing early but we took a lot of pitches today and that came back to bite us.
"We had our biggest win of the season the night before against Elk Grove and were hoping to carry that to our Senior Day (Napoli, Natalie Kubsik, Steininger, Maddie Anderskow and Megan Morris). We came up a little short. Our staff tries to make this day special. Our grounds crew guys do a great job getting the field ready (player's numbers chalked into the area of their positions)."