H-F ends Griffins unbeaten streak
Updated: April 25, 2011 6:24AM
On Wednesday, Homewood-Flossmoor threw its hat into the ring as a softball team to be watched by riding an extra-inning walkoff grand slam by Jess Markanich to a victory over Lockport.
Thursday, the Vikings climbed to the top of the chart to knock No. 5 Lincoln-Way East from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Markanich again was a hero in the 4-0 victory, driving in the first - and winning - run with an RBI double in the third inning.
Right-hander Sarah Burke took it from there, blanking the Griffins with a five-hit, eight-strikeout performance.
"Oh, my gosh, it felt good," Markanich said of her two-day hitting heroics. "I feel like we earned this. We busted our butts to come out to play (against Lockport), and then we came out to play for this game with a lot of intensity. I'm proud of our girls."
Adrienne Contreras added a two-run single and Tara Gresen an RBI single for H-F (12-4, 4-0), which maintained its spot atop the SouthWest Suburban Blue.
Jorgi Calombaris and Aubrey DeGroot had two hits each for East (11-1, 2-1).
Burke, who surrendered a pair of home runs in a loss last week to Marian Catholic and allowed a two-run shot by Lockport's Lia Romeo on Wednesday, kept all but five singles and one flyout in the infield Thursday.
"She was hitting all of her spots," Vikings catcher Moochie Werner said. "She had her outside fastball on point. We're a battery, and we're starting to work really, really well together. It's exciting."
Burke reacted to her toughest situations with her best pitches. East had runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth and again with one out in the seventh.
Strikeout. Strikeout. Strikeout.
"I just really wanted to get the job done so we could keep our lead," Burke said. "I felt really good. I think we had a lot of enthusiasm that carried over from the game (Wednesday)."
There was a definite theme to H-F's offense. Walk, then score a run.
Alex Bitto drew a one-out free pass from East pitcher Kacyee Hart in the third and scored on Markanich's double. Werner walked to lead off the fourth and came in on Gresens' RBI single. Sydney Battle and Markanich drew back-to-back freebies to start the fifth and came in on a base hit by Contreras.
"That's what killed us today," East coach Katie Meader said. "We put runners on with walks, and we had a couple of errors by not playing aggressively. You can't do that once you enter conference. You might have gotten away with it before, but you're not going to get away with it in the SWSC.
"(H-F) absolutely deserved to win today's game. They came out aggressive, with great pitching. She dominated us in the box, and they made the plays out on the field."