Softball: Brianna LeBeau, Richards top Oak Park, continue hot start
Updated: March 17, 2012 7:35PM
Brianna LeBeau proved unbeatable again Saturday in a 3-0 victory Saturday at Oak Park-River Forest.
After winning 28 consecutive games to open last season, it’s pretty easy to keep track of No. 5 Richards’ current streak to open this season — two.
Even more impressive for coach Julie Folliard, Northwestern-bound pitcher Brianna LeBeau has not allowed a run yet this season. LeBeau pitched a three-hit shutout to beat Oak Park-River Forest 3-0 Saturday in the Huskies’ season opener. The win came less than 24 hours after LeBeau pitched a two-hit shutout over Marist, a 1-0 victory, won on Danielle Kappel’s walk-off homer.
“That was a big game yesterday,” LeBeau said. “I did not feel my best pitchingwise today.”
Richards (2-0) scored in the top of the first off Breanna Kaminski’s RBI double, which scored LeBeau from second with two outs. LeBeu hit a two-out double off the glove of third baseman Mariah Weinand. OPRF (0-1) threatened in the bottom of the first after Weinand singled, was sacrificed to second and reached third on Dana Alcock’s single. But LeBeau worked out of trouble with a strikeout and ground out to end the inning.
The Huskies had four lead-off batters reach base in the game against LeBeau. Three reached scoring position, but could not score. LeBeau allowed her first walk of the season on five pitches to Weinand to start the sixth, but finished with 11 strikeouts to give her 17 on the season.
Richards beat OPRF 11-8 in last year’s season opener for the Huskies.
“We played a little better today than we did yesterday,” Folliard said.
The Bulldogs scored twice in the fourth inning on a pair of unearned runs. LeBeau reached second on a dropped flyball in the outfield and eventually scored on Sam Kusta’s sacrifice fly. Freshman pinch-runner Abby Gentile, running for Kappel, scored the first run of her career on Molly Pohrebny’s single to center field with two outs.
“I feel like we were a lot more nervous yesterday,” LeBeau said. “We could not do much offensively with our batting.”
Weinand and Alcock were the only Huskies players able to get hits against LeBeau (2-0), who was last year’s Illinois Gatorade player of the year with a 25-3 record.
“Her coach calls great pitches. She gets good movement,” said Alcock, who played on JV last season. “We were right there with them.”
OPRF played without starting senior catcher Annie Ford, who missed the game due to a church retreat commitment. Ford is expected to play in OPRF’s next game at Maine South Monday.
The Huskies played their first game since finishing last season with a losing record, a first for 20-year coach Mel Kolbusz.
“I like our effort. They play softball for 10 years, but we have to teach them the things we do,” Kolbusz said. “We did all the little things beautifully. They never quit and that’s another good thing for us.”
Sophomore Emma Baldwin suffered the loss, but did not walk a batter and allowed six hits. She struck out three.