Softball roundup

  • Written by Frank Gogola and Anthony Nasella

Lady Knights close out Mt. Assisi, claim regional title

  She may have appeared composed, but Chicago Christian sophomore pitcher Davina Gutierrez needed a moment to calm herself Saturday after enduring a six-run fourth inning that cut the Lady Knights’ lead over Mt. Assisi to 7-6.
  “The first thing I thought about was my travel-ball coach, Joe Findlay,” Gutierrez said. “I thought about what words he would be saying to me and what would be going through my mind at that time.
  “And I just thought about what our team has been through together, and I knew that they had my back one way or another, so I knew that we could get through it. … The emotions running through me kind of got the best of me at one point, but I definitely pushed through it.”
  Gutierrez settled down after surrendering a two-RBI single and Terri Dearth’s grand slam and limited the Screeching Eagles to just one more run. The Lady Knights added to their own total as well, which helped them collect an 11-7 victory and the championship of their own Class 2A softball regional at the Trinity Christian College Athletic Complex.
  The defeat not only ended Mt. Assisi’s campaign, but its very existence. The school closed its doors for good on Friday.
  Chicago Christian (14-15), which claimed its fourth regional crown in as many seasons, met Beecher in a Reed-Custer Sectional semifinal this past Wednesday. The Eagles, meanwhile, concluded their final season at 9-19.

SXU sports summary

Thompson solid for Cougars in NAIA golf tourney

  She missed the final-round cut by just a single stroke, but St. Xavier University freshman Taylor Thompson still beat out 102 golfers at last Tuesday’s NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships in Lincoln, Neb.
  Thompson shot rounds of 83, 76 and 79 during her three days at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club, a par-72, 5,962-yard course. Her 238 total was good for 42nd place. The top 40 golfers advanced into the fourth round.
  “Although Taylor missed the cut, she played a great tournament [by] coming back very strong after a shaky opening round,” Cougars coach Mike Mandakas said. “She handled herself very well as a freshman playing alongside the best collegiate golfers in the country. I know Taylor will take a lot from this experience and get herself prepared for a return trip next year.”
  Thompson had a stellar debut season at SXU, registering numerous top-10 tourney finishes and winning the individual title at the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Championship. That victory secured for her an automatic bid to the NAIA event and helped Thompson get named the conference’s Women’s Player of the Year.

Piece of the pie

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Vikings share CCL Blue title

  Half a piece is better than none at all.
  That’s true whether the object in question is a baked good or baseball title. And it was an opinion shared by St. Laurence players and coaches in the aftermath of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Brother Rice.
  That defeat put the Vikings in danger of a runner-up finish within the Chicago Catholic League Blue. But Mt. Carmel, which had fallen twice to the Vikings in earlier matchups, did them a favor by knocking off arch-rival St. Rita in another Saturday clash.
  Thus, St. Laurence was guaranteed a slice of the championship pie, which it shared with the Mustangs. The Vikings (26-4, 13-3) bagged at least a piece of the Catholic Blue crown for the third time in four seasons. They won it outright in 2013.

  “It’s not the most ideal way to win a conference championship, but we’ll take it,” St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said with a chuckle. “Luckily, Mt. Carmel came through for us. Our game was done in probably an hour-and-a-half, but we still had guys around because it was our Alumni Day.
  “This is always our first goal and I’m really proud of our guys. Once you get past the frustration of not playing the way we’re capable [on Saturday], you realize it’s a great accomplishment [to win the championship].”
  And, as Lotus pointed out, the Vikings actually had to come from behind after losing a game to De La Salle several weeks ago. The Meteors handed St. Laurence its only other shutout of the spring.

Just for the fun of it

  • Written by Ken Karrson

On eve of playoffs, Knights bag three more wins

  With a second straight Suburban Christian Conference Gold title already in hand, Chicago Christian had nothing to prove against three nonleague foes last week.
  And on Monday, that’s exactly the way it appeared.
  Knights coach Eric Brauer liked that his club managed to knock off Christian Liberty Academy 5-0, but that’s as far as the positive vibes went. While Chicago Christian was never in danger of suffering a defeat, it also lacked the game-day energy Brauer has come to expect.
  “Our intensity and focus was nowhere near what it needed to be,” he said. “I think our kids weren’t looking at it as very important. It was not the level of competition we’d been playing the previous four weeks in conference, and we played down to our competition.”

Crowning achievement

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Bulldogs lock up SSC Red championship

  The Bulldogs are back on top.
  A season that began on a high note and has pretty much remained there paid its first dividends on Saturday when Richards officially locked up its third South Suburban Conference Red title in four years. The Bulldogs did so by defeating host TF North 8-3 in a conference crossover while their closest Red Division pursuer, Evergreen Park, was being shut out by SSC Blue leader Lemont.
  “It’s been a very nice season,” Richards coach Brian Wujcik said. “I really did not anticipate us [having] the potential to go 17-2 [in league play].”
  Wins over Argo this past Monday and Wednesday would give the Bulldogs that exact mark. While Wujcik certainly wasn’t about to assume success against the Argonauts before the games were played, the veteran boss figured everything would be fine if Richards simply followed the script.