Softball: Depa's 4-hit shutout sends Prospect past Elk Grove
Prospect softball coach Krystina Leazer Mackowiak went back to her old home on Wednesday and her ace pitcher Riley Depa made herself right at home.
Depa, a DePauw University pledge, fired a 4-hitter for her second shutout of the season as the Knights posted a 7-0 triumph at Elk Grove, the school where Mackowiak starred on the pitcher's circle before doing the same at Carthage College in Kenosha.
"It's fun for her," Depa said of Mackowiak getting to coach against her former mentor, hall of famer Ken Grams whose 1,012 wins are the second most in Illinois softball history. "She gets to see people she knows."
Depa has shown she knows how to win games with her arm and her bat. She got on base four times Wednesday, including a single in the top of the seventh.
The senior right-hander (11-5), who bats lefty, finished with 11 strikeouts.
"She pitched well," Grams said. "Our approach at the plate needed to be a little better but give her (Depa) credit. She stayed ahead of the batters and that's what you ask pitchers to do, So she pitched well."
Depa was throwing on the same mound as her coach did nearly 15 years ago.
"It's always good to see Krystina," Grams said.
"It's always nice to play here and see Grams," Mackowiak added. "It's just a fun occasion to come back for."
And Depa and the Knights made it fun for Mackowiak's homecoming.
"Riley pitched a phenomenal game," said Mackowiak, whose team (12-5, 5-2) leads the Mid-Suburban East. "She is doing a great job this season of keeping us in all of these big games. We've got to keep doing our job here. We've got another big game Friday (at Fremd). Honestly, every game is a big one these days."
Depa got the only run she would need in the second inning. Depa led off with a walk, and pinch runner Kate Kulak went to second on a single to left by Ashley Simon (2-for-4). Kulak then scored on a single to center by Erin Pinter (2-for-4).
Prospect pushed across 5 runs in the third inning, highlighted by Georgianna Crudele's RBI single to right and a two-out bases-loaded single (all 3 runners scored) to right field from Rachael Sasanuma, who caught Depa's gem.
"That was Rachael coming in clutch there," Mackowiak said. "We got a lot of runners on base. I would have liked to have gotten a few more runs at the end (Grens reliever Lexi Goeringer did not allow a run in the final three innings) but early on we capitalized and that kind of helped propel Riley to be a little more relaxed on the mound."
"I feel more confident when we score early," Depa said. "It helps me as a pitcher. And I have trust in my teammates. We have the defense to back it up. I think all my pitches (five) were working so we were kind of able to work everywhere in the zone."
Prospect capped its scoring in the third inning when second baseman Carley Jagiello (2-for-4) gave her team the 7-0 cushion with a one-out homer which was followed by a single to center by Crudele (2-for-4). Grens starter Aliya Garcia got out of the inning with a double play.
In all, Prospect had 11 hits, including one from Gina Falls.
The hits for Elk Grove (6-6, 2-4) came in the second inning (one-out double to left center by Ashleigh Schwartz), third inning (one-out single by Sabina Lehnert), sixth inning (two-out double to center by Ariana Trausch) and seventh inning (one-out infield hit by Megan Malartsik).