Softball: Carone pitches Crystal Lake Central over Crystal Lake South
Crystal Lake Central pitcher Gianna Carone faced a few uncomfortable situations in Tuesday's Fox Valley Conference game against Crystal Lake South, but none made her more nervous than in the top of the seventh inning.
Sometimes, nerves aren't a bad thing.
With the tying run on third base and two outs, the Tigers sophomore -- like she had all game -- came up with a big pitch, hitting the outside corner of the plate and striking out No. 3 hitter Brooke Kuffel looking to lead the Tigers to a 3-2 win over their crosstown rivals.
Carone stranded eight in the complete-game victory, scattering seven hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. She was hoping for an uneventful finish, but a two-out walk to Kennedy Grippo opened the door for the Gators.
Alexis Pupillo ripped a single to center field to move Grippo to third. A throwing error after a steal by Pupillo then allowed Grippo to score and Pupillo to advance to third.
When Kuffel, a Wisconsin commit, came up to bat, Carone kept telling herself to aim for the outside.
"I was really nervous because they were all connecting, and it was their fourth time [through the order]," Carone said. "I knew I had to nail my corners. I remember the last time, when she came up to bat and we had two strikes on her. We realized she was down in the same count, so we went with the same [high outside] pitch."
Central coach Brian Strombom thought Carone had some of her best stuff of the season Tuesday.
"Gianna was just outstanding," Strombom said. "She had such good pace, good command and when she needed to make a pitch, she kept doing it. It was just really good to see.
"We lost a tough one to [South] the first time around, and they're a really good team. We thought we could play with them. We thought we could beat them, and it just feels good to be on the right side of it."