Hurts so dumb, take 2

(Reprinted from March 12, 2009)

  Once again, it’s time to be amused by other people’s misery.
  Now before everyone starts thinking I’m some sort of sadistic creep, let me remind you that I have no intention of laughing at genuine misfortune. Real folks with real problems deserve sympathy, assistance or whatever else we can offer that will make their plight a bit more bearable.
  However, professional athletes are a different story altogether. Sure, there are ones who’ve dealt with serious family matters involving their children — Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee and Bears defensive back Peanut Tillman immediately come to mind — and they, too, should be treated with compassion.
  What I’m referencing is those jocks who, through their own carelessness or stupidity, have brought physical injury upon themselves.
  About two months ago, I chronicled the tales of roughly a dozen highly paid sports-world individuals who got hurt not during competition, but because of some bizarre maneuver they pulled off the field of play. The list was by no means a complete one, and after some dogged research done by others, I’ve compiled an update.
  One thing I noticed is that golf is a very dangerous undertaking. It’s always been physically taxing, particularly for those 120-pound teenaged caddies toting 100 pounds’ worth of golf bags for businessmen whose post-round tips consist of stock-purchasing advice for the youngsters, who have no money to invest because they’ve just been stiffed.
  But in the case of athletes, I’m talking real injuries. Amazingly, none was suffered during actual play.

Softball roundup

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

Lady Spartans hitting their stride

There are many intangibles Oak Lawn coach Brian Frangella can attribute to his team’s 6-1 effort last week that lifted the Lady Spartans over .500 for the season.
But perhaps the most telling is that the 14 players who make up the roster are gaining confidence with each game.
During the week, Oak Lawn (10-9) registered victories over Queen of Peace, Hillcrest, Argo and Bloom Township before posting a 2-1 record and third-place finish at the Elgin Larkin Slugfest.
“We had a really good week, and I think it’s because the girls started believing in themselves,” Frangella said. “It’s made a difference, especially at the plate. We’ve been hitting the ball really well. We’re also getting much better at-bats.
“We’ve been talking a lot about that this season -- the girls taking control of the at-bat and swinging at their pitch and not the pitcher’s pitch. It’s making a big difference.”
The Lady Spartans opened with a 17-5 romp past the Pride on Monday, a win largely made possible by Reily McTeague, who finished with five RBI runs. Morgan Josza then drove in two to spur Oak Lawn's offense in its 13-2 conquest of Hillcrest in a South Suburban Conference crossover game two days later.
Argo presented a much tougher obstacle on Thursday, but the Lady Spartans cleared it when Kaleigh Hayes drove in the deciding run in a 7-6 triumph. On Friday, it was Marissa Loya's turn to star as she homered and totaled four RBI to lead Oak Lawn past the Lady Blazing Trojans 6-4.
At the Larkin Slugfest, the Lady Spartans opened with a 14-0 whitewash of the host school. Josza handcuffed Larkin with a two-hitter, and she got plenty of offensive support from Mia Loya and Heyden Landingham, each of whom delivered three hits and three RBI.

Moraine athletics wrap

  • Written by Maura Vizza

Cyclones softball team has sweep time

Moraine Valley College’s softball team made it a point to double its pleasure in recent outings.
The Cyclones had a sweep time as they captured both ends of three straight doubleheaders to run their unbeaten streak to eight games. Win No. 9 in a row was gained at Oakton College’s expense before the latter turned the tables in Game 2 last Thursday.
Without question, Moraine’s most impressive exhibition came against McHenry College, which gave up 35 runs in the span of only 10 innings and suffered a pair of lopsided Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference defeats as a result. The April 17 outcomes favored the Cyclones by scores of 11-2 and 24-2.
Moraine coach Mike Veen opted for station-to-station play in an attempt to keep the margins reasonably close, but even that couldn’t slow the Cyclones’ onslaught. Janay McGovern led Moraine’s first-game blitz with a 4-for-5 showing and four RBI.

SXU sports summary

Softball team sets national record

Establishing a program record is certainly noteworthy.
Eclipsing a national standard, however, is headline-worthy.
St. Xavier University's softball team got a chance to accomplish both feats last Wednesday. Although visiting Judson University scored one run in each end of a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader, it waited until the fourth inning to do so in the opener.
And by blanking the Eagles for the first 3 1/3 frames, the Cougars surpassed California Baptist's four-year-old national mark for consecutive shutout innings by that same amount. SXU is now No. 1 in NAIA annals with 60 2/3 scoreless innings in a row.
And by virtue of their 3-1 and 6-1 victories, the No. 9-ranked Cougars stretched their winning streak to 21 games, which bettered by two the school standard that was set in 2013.
The record setting didn't stop there, either. Senior pitcher Megan Nonnemacher's Game 1 win gave her 80 for her collegiate career, which equaled SXU's all-time best individual effort. In raising her season ledger to 17-1, Nonnemacher tossed a five-hitter and struck out six.

Sports wrap

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

 With a pair of shutouts to its credit last week, Shepard’s girls’ soccer team moved two steps closer to a South Suburban Conference Red championship.

  The Lady Astros (9-4) maintained their grip on first place as the league schedule got reduced to four matches. And Shepard coach Scott Wilkins couldn’t be happier with how his squad is proceeding.
  “We’ve been really playing good lately,” he said. “We were having some challenges getting things going earlier in the season, but I think we’re going the right way. Everybody is starting to understand their roles and those who are assuming roles of leadership.”
  The Lady Astros’ first whitewash came against Argo, which dropped a 2-0 SSC Red verdict. Netminder Heather Banis was credited with the shutout, while Tiffani and Christina Kotas supplied Shepard’s goals.
  Tiffani Kotas scored before intermission and Christina Kotas added her goal shortly after the second half got underway.
  “Tiffani and Christina are providing outstanding senior leadership,” Wilkins said. “Both of them are scoring a lot of goals this year and both are really stepping up as outside midfielders for us. After their goals, we played good defense and kept the possession of the ball really well.
  “We were really happy with our second-half effort. When we’re able to control the ball, it usually works out well for us.”
  Fresh off that success, the Lady Astros kept the momentum going against Joliet West on Saturday as they registered a 1-0 triumph behind Kelly Evancich’s marker and more strong goaltending from Banis, who made three saves en route to notching her fifth shutout of the year.
  Evancich’s goal came halfway through the first half, when Shepard had the wind at its back.
  “It was a real windy game,” Wilkins said. “We were playing against the wind in the second half, so we were just trying to keep the ball on the ground and keep possession of it. We did a great job again in the second half.”
  Wilkins said he has been pleased with Evancich’s season-long performance, which has resulted in 11 goals to date.
  “Kelly has really stepped up and taken on a significant offensive role this year,” he said. “The goals that she has scored have been solid.”
  Also shining for Shepard has been Banis, who missed her freshman year after tearing her ACL in the season’s second match. She played basketball this winter for Shepard and has maintained her athletic edge by competing in soccer.
  “Heather has been doing a solid job for us,” Wilkins said. “We’re hoping she’ll be around for the next couple of years. She provides good leadership and knows how to control things in front of her.”
  Next up for the Lady Astros are matches versus Oak Lawn and Bremen, which could help determine Shepard’s ultimate fate within the SSC Red.
  “We have four more conference games left,” Wilkins said. “Hopefully, we can wrap the conference up in the next couple of games.”
  Sandburg also won twice via shutout last week as it blanked Homewood-Flossmoor 2-0 in a SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue match and edged Benet Academy 2-0 in a Thursday nonconference encounter at Wheaton North.
  Emily Osoba and Sam Messina did the scoring for the Lady Eagles (7-2-1, 3-0) versus the Lady Vikings, while Jayna Kozlowski and Rachel Mokersky took care of the offensive business against the Lady Redwings.
  Behind goals from Hannah Henderson and Erin O’Leary, Stagg (4-4-2, 2-0) defeated Joliet West 5-2 in an SWSC Blue match on Thursday.
  Stagg dropped a hard-fought, three-set verdict to Lockport after winning Game 1 of the SWSC Blue match. The Porters prevailed 25-27, 25-19, 25-22.
  Trevor Crain put down 10 kills for the Chargers, while Trevon Velasco was also strong along the net with six blocks. Nick Stanek dished out 28 assists and Sean Runyon finished with 18 digs.
  Ivan Magana’s nine kills and two service aces led visiting Shepard (6-12, 1-2) to a 25-23, 26-28, 25-18 triumph over TF United last Thursday. Dave Prince added three solo blocks for the Astros in the SSC crossover match.
  Sandburg’s attempt to win the Brother Rice Tournament fell short on Saturday night, as it lost 9-8 to Lockport.
  The Eagles (17-6) found themselves behind 2-0 after the first quarter before fighting back to tie the game at 4-all by halftime. Zach Roper (five goals) spurred Sandburg’s comeback and also inched it in front by tallying in the opening minute of the second half.
  The Porters responded with three straight goals, but the Eagles forged another deadlock at 7-all when Majd Ibrahim scored with 4:07 left in regulation. However, Lockport got the final say with two more tallies in the remaining time.
  Roper did put Sandburg in a position to tie with a goal, but a turnover in the last 18 seconds dashed any hopes the Eagles had of creating the need for overtime.
  Stagg beat Bradley-Bourbonnais (14-10) and Lincoln-Way Central (11-8) in a pair of SWSC crossover affairs last week.
  Connor Kaufmann netted five goals and Zack Amendola scored four times to lift the host Chargers past the Boilermakers. Lane Hollin made 17 saves for Stagg.
  Amendola netted six goals and Holin was credited with 13 saves to lead the Chargers in their other win.
  Stagg dropped a 13-1 decision to Lincoln-Way Central in an SWSC crossover last Wednesday.
  After getting shut out by Lemont in an SSC crossover last Tuesday, Shepard rebounded to take down Riverside-Brookfield 4-2 on Wednesday. Among Wednesday’s winners were the No. 1 doubles tandem of Brian Spoon-Kyle McNamara.
  Shepard won four relays en route to securing the team crown with 184 points at Friday’s Richards Invitational. Marist (127) was second and Eisenhower (81) third in the eight-team meet.
  The Lady Astros finished first in the 400-meter relay (49.6 seconds), 800-relay (1:48.2), 1,600-relay (4:12.5) and 3,200-relay (10:16). Individual winners for Shepard included Zipporah Allbritton in the 400 (1:03.7) and Jada Jackson in the discus (117 feet, 9 inches).
  Sandburg finished fourth at its own 11-school invitational last Thursday by scoring 54 points. Meet-champion Lincoln-Way East had 160 points, and Thornton (75) and Mother McAuley (62) also bettered the Lady Eagles’ total.
  Supplying first-place finishes for Sandburg were Casey Jensen in the 1,600 (5:33.87) and Rayphina Foma’i in the shot put (35-1).
  Shepard defeated Argo 15-0 in an SSC Red match last Wednesday.