Softball: Buffalo Grove snaps Barrington's 25-game MSL streak
It's never been easy for opponents to leave the Fields of Dreams with a victory.
There are eight banners on the outfield fence representing eight different softball teams from Barrington High School that have finished among the top four teams in the IHSA state tourney.
"You walk into this place and it's always so rightfully intimidating," said Buffalo Grove coach Caitlyn Carpenter about the Fillies' nifty home park complete with lights, a press box and concession stand. "But it's fun. Our kids came in with so much energy today. It was crazy right from the warm up. They were so focused. They wanted it so bad. They were just lights out from top to bottom."
Junior left-hander Kate Ryan (6-1) hurled a 4-hitter against the state-ranked Fillies (19-4, 9-1) to help propel the Bison (12-3, 6-2) to a 5-2 triumph that snapped a 25-game Mid-Suburban League winning streak by West leader Barrington.
The Fillies' last league setback was a 2-0 decision to Palatine on May 9, 2019.
"I thought Kate (Ryan) was terrific on the mound," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. "She did a wonderful job and was really a leader for their team and deserved to be the victor. Buffalo Grove has a really nice team. They're very talented, well coached and do a great job."
Bison shortstop Jenna Kosnoff did a great job at the plate and in the field.
The junior went 2-for-3 with a 2-run homer that capped a 4-run fifth inning to give the visitors a 5-1 lead in the top of the fifth.
"I wasn't trying to hit a homer," she said. "I was just trying to out the ball in play."
BG was putting the ball in play from the get-go. The Bison lined out three straight times in the top of the first.
They scored an unearned run to take a 1-0 lead in the top of third. Barrington tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning when pitcher Allie Goodwin (16-4) singled home Lexi Thomas.
But the Bison continued to hit, and had three singles in the fifth. Alyssa Fontanetta drew her second walk and went to second on a single to right by Kayla O'Malley. Catcher JJ Jakosalem sacrificed the runners to second and third, setting up Hannah Hull's 2-run single to right making it 3-1.
Kosnoff then delivered her blast to center field.
"This was super exciting for us," Kosnoff added. "We were so happy afterward. It was our goal to beat Barrington this season. We were just trying to stay calm and stay loose behind Kate, who pitched an awesome game.
"We wanted to play clean defense, hit the ball hard which we definitely did, and string together a lot of runs."
Goodwin came through again in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI double (made it 5-2) to score Kate Winkleman, who led off with a single to right.
But Ryan retired seven of the next eight batters to put away the game for the Mid-Suburban League East leaders.
"I really got confidence in that first inning when we didn't get any hits but all three batters hit line drives to the outfield." Ryan said. "I knew we were going to hit well.
"My curveball really helped get a lot of groundouts and my teammates made the plays. Jenna made some really nice ones at shortstop and Kim (Stuercke, who made four unassisted putouts in the first three innings) at first base. The whole team was fielding well. JJ is a great catcher and she really helps my confidence, too."
Carpenter said she had a great feeling after the first inning.
"Even Kate said the three lines drives (by O'Malley, Jakosalem and Hull) gave her confidence because we were making contact and hitting hard. Just starting that way was huge."
And Ryan went on to get a huge win.
"We're so lucky to have Kate," said Carpenter, who calls the pitchers. "We've kind of found a good rhythm and she works so well with JJ. Their connection is really good. Kate's only loss was to Fremd and she pitched super well in that game. She's super solid."