Softball

High school softball: Darkness forces Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South to suspend FVC game

Maddie Bush, Crystal Lake South
Maddie Bush, Crystal Lake South

CARY – Crystal Lake South senior second baseman Maddie Bush felt like she let her team down when she wasn't able to cleanly handle a hard-hit ground ball off the bat of Cary-Grove's Kelly Johnson to start the sixth inning.

Later in the inning with the bases loaded, C-G's Jazzy Flashing ripped another hard-hit ball past Bush, sneaking under the glove of South right fielder Nikki Benoit and going all the way to the fence.

Flashing's triple cleared the bases, scoring Johnson, Katy Wieczorek and Emma Hill and giving the Trojans an 8-5 lead over South in the teams' Fox Valley Conference game Thursday.

Bush made up for it next inning. After freshman catcher Alexis Pupillo tripled to lead off the top of the seventh and scored on a fielder's choice, Bush delivered a two-run base hit to score Emily Sulikowski and Christina Toniolo, tying the game at 8.

Pitcher Alyssa Niketopoulos kept the Trojans off the scoreboard in the bottom half, when the game was suspended because of darkness. The game will finish May 1 when the Trojans travel to South before the teams' second scheduled conference game.

Bush felt like her error to start the sixth set up C-G's big inning.

"I was kind of beating myself up for it," Bush said. "I wanted to make up for it. ... I just kind of waited for my pitch. (Cary-Grove pitcher Emma Hill) is really good. She has a very good riseball, so I just waited for her to bring it down. I saw one, and I loved it."

The Trojans (4-3, 0-1) grabbed their first lead against the Gators in the fourth inning. Down 4-2, Alina Krembuszewski had an RBI single and Wieczorek followed with a two-run hit. South tied the game at 5 in the fifth on three straight hits with two outs.

The Gators (11-0, 2-0) had the bases loaded with two outs in the the sixth, but Brooke Kuffel's fly ball landed short of the center-field fence with the wind blowing in.

"I feel like the wind was almost blowing against us," Bush said. "It literally felt like there was a wall out there, because we had so many hits that we were running out of the dugout like, 'Oh, it's gone,' but the wind kept it in."

"The wind really toyed with us today," Gators coach Scott Busam added. "We elevated some balls and made some really hard contact, but mother nature had different plans."

Christina Toniolo muscled a homer out for South in the third, a two-run shot. Pupillo nearly had another, but the ball hit off the top of the fence and stayed in play.

The Trojans let a late-lead slip away against defending FVC champion Huntley on Tuesday, an 8-5 loss in eight innings. One of South's runs in the sixth inning was unearned.

The Trojans finished with four errors, leading to two unearned runs.

"South is undefeated, and we wanted to battle hard like we did against Huntley," C-G coach Tammy Olson said. "Unfortunately we're in the same situation as we were Tuesday. It's a matter of making better decisions. We had some miscues that we've got to work on."

Despite Thursday's ending, the Trojans are encouraged with their early-season results.

"We're very competitive even with these higher-ranked teams," Flashing said. "We can't drag ourselves down with the competition We just need to finish a few more plays and we'll be fine."

STAR OF THE GAME

Maddie Bush, Crystal Lake South, sr., 2B

Bush (3 for 5) ripped a two-run single to center field with one out in the seventh to tie the game at 8.

THE NUMBER

3: Cary-Grove scored three runs in the sixth to take a three-run lead. South answered with three in the seventh.

AND ANOTHER THING … 

South catcher Alexis Pupillo legged out two triples. Her first hit off the top of the left-field fence and stayed in play, scoring Brooke Kuffel from first. She started the seventh with a triple to right field, leading to three runs.

Crystal Lake South 8, Cary-Grove 8 (susp. 7 inn.)

Crystal Lake South 002 210 3 – 8 13 2

Cary-Grove 002 303 0 – 8 9 5

Top hitters–CL South: Pupillo 3-5 (2 3B, RBI, 2R), Sulikowski 2-2 (2B, 2RBI, 2R), Toniolo 1-3 (HR, 3RBI, 2R), Bush 3-5 (2B, 2RBI). Cary-Grove: Johnson 2-4 (2B, RBI, 2R), Wieczorek 2-2 (3RBI), Hill 2-2 (2B), Flashing 1-3 (3B, RBI), Norberg 2-4 (2B, RBI, 2R).

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