Softball: Jackson settles down, pitches Warren past Libertyville
Warren pitcher Sydney Jackson was a study in perseverance Tuesday at Libertyville.
Just four batters into her outing she found herself down 3-1, thanks to a 3-run home run off the bat of Wildcats freshman Zoe Kinsella.
But at that point Jackson, a junior, just stayed the course, and said that she wasn't worried because she knew how well her team could hit the ball.
Her confidence was right on the money as the Blue Devils rallied, rapping out 16 hits in a 9-4 North Suburban Conference softball victory.
Jackson threw all 7 innings and struck out 11 in the win.
"I knew the bats were going to come alive," she said, "so I just had to keep pitching. When we need to turn it on, we turn it on. We're very competitive when it comes to getting up to the plate, swinging early in the count, and doing what we need to do."
Warren trailed 3-2 in the top of the fourth when Kaitlyn Weidemann came to plate with two outs and nobody on.
Weidemann delivered big time, tying the game on an inside-the-park homer, a line shot that made it all the way to the right-field fence.
She showed her speed on the play, racing around the bases and beating the relay throw to home plate.
"I saw the ball go down the line," said Weidemann. "The coaches were sending me, I got sent around third and I said to myself, 'OK, we're doing this."
It was her second insider-the-parker in her career and her first in high school, the other coming on a travel team.
That made it 3-3. An RBI single from Josie Leibfried in the fifth gave the Blue Devils the lead, and they extended the advantage in the sixth.
Warren scored 4 times in the frame, with the highlight a 2-run home run by senior first baseman Hailey Conger.
Libertyville's final run came on another blast by Kinsella, a solo shot home run way beyond the center-field fence.
The freshman hit two homers as well last Saturday against Fremd, and Wildcats coach Sean Ferrell said that Kinsella "brings so much to our team in so many different ways."
"I just can't say enough good things about her," said the coach. "Her energy, her positive attitude, and she can play a lot of different places for us."
"She's been awesome at first base for us, and she's not afraid of the moment at all. She's not intimidated, she's competitive, she has the right temperament, and she does her best against top competition."
Conger, Weidemann and junior Gabby Olavarria each had 3 hits for Warren.
"This game just shows our resiliency," said Weidemann. "We didn't start the quickest but we were able to come back with the bats."
Jackson got the final out of the game when Kinsella popped out in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on.
"She was great today," added Wiedemann of Jackson. "She gave up the single, a walk and then that bomb (the Kinsella home run) in the first inning, then she just found her groove."