Softball: Mundelein shuts out Lake Zurich to stay in NSC race

After a North Suburban Conference road win at Lake Zurich last month continued her team's solid start on the season, Mundelein softball coach Kat McCreery offered a positive assessment of her team.

"I think our girls do a real good job of (going) back to business the next day (after) a win which I think is really important and they try to build on each game. They try to take lessons from each game, try to improve their at-bats each time making adjustments throughout the game and even just from day to day as we see different pitchers (and) different teams with different strengths," McCreery said.

"We just keep battling. This is a group that battles and I'm really proud of them."

In the rematch back at the Mundelein High campus Monday afternoon, her squad gave her both pride and joy as it used some early offensive discipline to sweep the season series with the Bears 10-0 in five innings to move its mark to 22-4 overall and 11-2 in the NSC.

It also keeps their hopes aflame for a possible share of the North Suburban title as it trails front-runner Warren (19-6, 11-1) as it heads into the final two games of league play. The Blue Devils have back-to-back home dates hosting Lake Forest Monday and Zion-Benton Tuesday. The Mustangs travel to Lake Forest needing to win and getting a Warren loss to earn a tie for the title.

"I think our at-bats from top to bottom were fantastic today," McCreery said. "Our approach was consistent at the plate. We were looking for our pitch. We were staying disciplined. We had quite a few two-strike hits, so that's really good to see."

The Mustangs broke through on the scoreboard thanks to sophomore left fielder Sophia Zepeda (2-2 reached base three times). She got things going with a two-run double that senior flex player Mila Photopoulos followed with another run-producing two-bagger that had Mundelein up 3-0 after two.

Three more Mustangs runs in the bottom of the third came thanks to a Casey Vyverman sacrifice fly and a Claire Connelly infield hit which both were proceeded by Photopoulos drawing a bases-loaded walk leaving the home team up 6-0 at the end of the third.

They sealed the win with a four-run fifth. Junior first baseman Lillian Scardicchio's walk-off two-run single accounted for the game's final runs. She ended up 3 for 3.

Zepeda spoke of her team's success at the plate by being good students of the opposing pitcher.

"I think seeing a pitch and then knowing how the pitcher throws and learning as we go from each pitch and once we come to bat (the next time), it's just putting a bat on it (that) keeps us in (scoring position) a lot."

She also spoke of her team's future heading into the Warren sectional complex as the No. 4 seed.

"We've seen a lot of very good competition and we've grown confident from that this season and so I think we're so better focused on what we know we can do."

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