Softball: Lockport comes up empty vs. Richards
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org April 14, 2012 9:04PM
Lockport starting pitcher Taylor Weissenhofer works Saturday against Richards. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 14, 2012 1:51AM
Richards eventually hit its way to a 4-2 victory in eight innings Saturday over host No. 2 Lockport.
But it was senior Nicole Ellement’s defense that made it possible.
Lockport (12-5) had just taken a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Kelly Pattison single that drove in Tierney Bottino (walk) and moved Carly Dundee (single) to second. Bri Carney then ripped a pitch from Richards’ Brianna LeBeau to the gap in left-center.
Ellement, racing to the spot, made a sprawling catch. She also popped up quickly and fired the ball back to the infield. The runners moved up, but Dundee was ruled out for leaving second base too soon.
What would have been a 4-1 Lockport lead stayed at 2-1. Before the day was done, outfielders Sam Kusta and Dana Cummings also would make big catches for Richards (17-1).
“That was so exciting,” Ellement said of her clutch play. “I knew that you have to give 100 percent every time. I did, and I guess I came up big that time.
“I knew where the runners were, but the first thing I had to worry about was making sure the ball stayed in my glove. That I came up with the ball was the most important thing.”
LeBeau worked out of further trouble and opened the seventh by drawing a walk from Porters pitcher Taylor Weissenhofer (10 strikeouts). Brenna Kaminski’s sacrifice bunt was successful, and LeBeau then stole third. With two outs, Richards’ Molly Pohrebny tied the game with a single up the middle.
“It was pretty nerve-racking, but I went up there with a lot of positive things in my mind,” Pohrebny said. “She was coming in pretty strong, but I just was ready to hit anything.”
Richards took command in the top of the eighth as Emily Wetzel, Hannah Jenkins and Kaminski all singled in a two-run uprising. LeBeau then closed out the Porters, although Carney almost took her deep with two on and one out with a long drive to left that Ellement chased down at the warning track.
“That’s how the ball falls,” Lockport coach Marissa Chovanec said. “It was a good game by both teams. That last hit (by Carney) just didn’t have enough oomph.
“I think Taylor got a little frustrated at the end and tightened up. We talked about that. As a pitcher today, it was a tough strike zone, but she needs to stay relaxed and do her job and think about the things she can control.”
Pattison, who was 3-for-4, stroked a solo home run in the first inning for Lockport.
Kusta squeezed home Danielle Kappel (double) for Richards in the fifth.