Softball roundup

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

Astros continue to soar in softball

  Whether it was accomplished by seasoned seniors or newcomer underclassmen, the Shepard girls’ softball team continued its winning ways last week and improved its season record to 15-6.
  The Lady Astros went 4-1: defeating Argo on two separate days, Mt. Assisi and Oak Lawn — with their only setback coming against Andrew.
  “It was a nice week for us,” Shepard head coach Kelsey Clifford said. “We were able to get some more conference wins in there. Obviously, because of the weather, we’re still in conference play.”
  On May 5, Shepard started the week with a 9-6 victory over Argo, racking up 11 hits in the process and taking advantage of eight stranded Argo base runners. The Astros went up for good in the fifth, scoring five runs on three singles.
  Kaitlyn Blanton, a sophomore and recent addition to the varsity team, reached base three times in the game, driving in a run and scoring a run. She singled in the fourth and seventh innings.
  Stephanie Brand got the win, despite allowing six runs over seven innings. She struck out five, walked one, and surrendered 12 hits. She also went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
  On May 6, Shepard defeated Mt. Assisi 8-7, as Bryanna Cross’ three-run homer keyed the visitors. Jenna Huisenga and Alyssa DeChene tacked on solo shots for the Astros. Melissa Kelly (4-4) took the win on the mound.

Sports wrap

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

The captain is back and Sandburg girls water polo three-peats in conference

Having already scored a conference victory earlier in the season over Lincoln-Way East, the Sandburg girls’ polo team knew that a win over the Griffins May 5 would seal the SouthWest Suburban Blue title for the Eagles.
And that’s exactly what happened. Behind even goals from Sarah Dolitsky, combined with a total-team effort, Sandburg prevailed 10-6 in Orland Park for its third straight conference title.
It was the first of three wins during the week for the Eagles (20-8, 11-2), who added a 7-2 victory over Neuqua Valley the following night and a 10-4 win over Homewood-Flossmoor last Wednesday night.
The win against Lincoln-Way East was significant for the Eagles because the game marked the return of team captain Danielle Lencioni, who had been recovering from a broken hand. She had a goal and two assists against the Griffins.
“Losing Danielle was a had been a big loss for us,” Sandburg coach Sofia Pappanastos said. “The girls were all excited and pumped for to have her back because they were waiting to have their full team back together.

Community sports news

Evergreen sprinters shine at CC track meet

With its 800-meter relay overcoming two dropped batons to provide it with one of three event wins, Evergreen Park's boys' track team piled up 80 points to finish third in the 13-school Chicago Christian Invitational.
Illiana Christian (143 points) was the meet champion, while Leo (87) nosed out the Mustangs for the runner-up spot.
Evergreen's 800-relay unit comprised of Sean Ryan, Don Lewis, Charles Taylor and Josh Carter mishandled the baton at both the second and third exchange points, but Carter's anchor leg of 22.9 seconds over the final 200 meters allowed the Mustangs to cross the finish line ahead of the field. Evergreen's foursome clocked a 1:36.95.
Carter was a standout at other times, too. He captured the long jump title with a leap of 19 feet, 1 3/4 inches and also ran the final leg for the triumphant 400-relay team. Joining him in posting an overall time of 45.36 in that race were Ryan, Taylor and William Reeves.

Not operating at a loss

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Bulldogs bounce back from defeat to win twice

  Losing a game is much different than losing one’s bearings.
  But when winning has become commonplace, even a lone setback can have dire psychological consequences. Thus, after Richards absorbed just its second defeat over a span of 16 games last Monday, Bulldogs assistant coach Kevin Quinn had a message for the players.
  “He said, ‘Don’t lose two in a row this year,’” Richards boss Brian Wujcik said.
  And the Bulldogs proceeded to heed that advice. Not only did they gain revenge on South Suburban Conference Red rival Reavis by answering Monday’s 7-1 loss with an 8-4 victory for themselves, but the locals also went on to hammer Lincoln-Way East 12-3 on Thursday.
  “We are [still] playing with confidence,” Wujcik said. “The guys all understand we’re not Murderer’s Row, but we are efficient hitters and we can manufacture [good scoring] innings.”
  Ironically, that was the missing ingredient in the first matchup against the Rams. Reavis lefty Bibal Abuzir limited normally potent Richards to eight singles and an unearned run.
  The Bulldogs took advantage of a bad pickoff throw to set up their only score in the third inning. AJ Sanchez (RBI) and Eric Mallo wrapped singles around that Rams miscue.
  “We got beat by a guy who pitched a really good game,” Wujcik said. “We’ve been pretty accustomed to double-digit hits, and often double-digit runs, but nobody’s going to roll over for us.
  “There was a little bit of emotion lacking from our guys in this game. I know it’s clichéd, but you’ve got to come out and play hard every day.”
  Reavis broke the contest open by tallying five runs in its portion of the fourth, a rally that was helped along by a walk and hit batsman. Ryan Thompson got tagged with his first pitching loss after notching four consecutive wins.

Taking the extra steps

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Knights play past regulation three times

Working overtime benefited Chicago Christian only a little last week.
Three times in four outings the Knights were required to play foes beyond the seventh inning so a winner could be declared — and in one of those instances, the result was actually indecisive as Christian handed coach Eric Brauer the second tie of his career. The Knights fought host Manteno to a 3-3 draw on Thursday through eight stanzas before darkness intervened.
Since the contest was a nonconference one and would require a lengthy return trip to complete, Brauer is calling it a deadlock. And that proved a favorable outcome in comparison to last Monday’s Suburban Christian Conference Gold duel with Aurora Central Catholic.
The Chargers, who are chasing Chicago Christian in the divisional standings, unleashed a pair of Division I recruits on Knights batters. The two pitchers shut Christian out after the first inning, although the Knights still had a few chances to break through.
“It was never with nobody out, but we threatened in probably five innings, where we had somebody in scoring position — sometimes two people,” Brauer said. “We just couldn’t come up with a key hit.”