Lockport posts shutout against Joliet CentralLockport's Kelly Bowler fires a pitch against Joliet Central. | Brett Roseman ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 17, 2011 10:55PM
The SouthWest Suburban Blue softball game Tuesday between Joliet Central and host Lockport was a contrast in programs: one that has reached the top and the other starting to build a foundation.
Two-time Class AA state champion Lockport ended its next-to-last home game with a solo dinger by Jessica Kubinski for a 10-0 six-inning victory.
Joliet Central has two victories in its first varsity season since 1993, when Central and West were combined.
“We’re building from the ground up,’’ Joliet Central coach Erin Douglas said. “I was happy with today. The score doesn’t show it, but the last time we played them the score was significantly different. That shows a lot of heart and desire by the girls to keep improving.’’
Douglas shouts encouragement from the third-base box or the dugout, using game situations to continue teaching. “Bases loaded, ball right to you, force at three’’ she pointed out after a miscue.
“I told their coach from the first time we saw them in Joliet to now, there’s 100 percent improvement,’’ Lockport coach Marissa Chovanec said. “They’re doing a good job. It’s going to take time.’’
Brianna Carney sparked the Lockport offense, going 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Alyssa Visvardis had a two-run single in the second and Tierney Bottino contributed an RBI double in the fifth.
“It was a slower pitcher, so I had to wait back a little bit,’’ Carney said. “I made my adjustments at the plate as best I could.’’
Carney opened the scoring with an RBI double in the first and added RBI singles in the second and fifth innings.
“A couple of weeks ago we started putting her in the lineup,’’ Chovanec said. “She’s been a hot bat for us. I hope she keeps going the next couple weeks.’’
Lockport starter Kelly Bowler and Amanda Oberc both threw three innings with six strikeouts apiece. Oberc yielded the only hit, a single by Kiara Collins in the fourth, and then fanned six of the last seven batters.
“I think my curveball was working really well today, I was hitting the corners,’’ Bowler said.
Lockport (22-8-1, 9-4) completes its Blue season Thursday at Lincoln-Way East, with a victory giving the Porters at least a tie for second place. Lockport’s home finale is today against Stagg, the Porters’ Senior Night.
“Stagg is always a good team, and my assistant coach (Rachel Gensch) went to Stagg,’’ Chovanec said. “It’s a rivalry a little bit.’’
Joliet Central (2-21, 0-12) finishes its Blue season with a doubleheader Thursday against Bolingbrook. Central’s regular-season finale is Saturday at Plainfield North.