Softball: Larkin, Dundee-Crown split doubleheaerDundee-Crown's Amanda Eissler (23) pitches during the first inning at Larkin High School in Elgin, Ill., on Saturday, March 17, 2012.
| Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Updated: March 17, 2012 9:46PM
Dundee-Crown’s Melanie Love proved Saturday there’s nothing wrong with her throwing shoulder — or her bat for that matter.
The senior pitcher earned the win in an 8-2 Game-2 victory to salvage a doubleheader split with Larkin , which routed the Chargers in 10-0 in five innings behind the two-hit pitching of Kiernan Schock.
Love had three hits and an RBI on the day, including a double. She pitched five innings of Game 2.
“I had shoulder surgery Aug. 9 and literally my recovery wasn’t over until just a few weeks before the season started with our tryouts,” Love said. “I’ve been having a lot of trouble with that (healing). It hurts, it aches, but I’m trying to work through it.
“I’m taking it easy when I can.”
Love waited to have the surgery until August because she wanted to complete the season with her Lightning travel team.
Mindful of Love’s injury, Chargers coach Tracy Beatty pulled her out of the pitching circle and put her in center field after three innings, then brought her back to relieve Amanda Eissler the final two innings. She threw two innings of hitless relief after allowing two hits and one run in the first three innings. Combined, she and Eissler limited Larkin to four hits in Game 2, with Love striking out four and Eissler striking out two.
“I didn’t want to throw her arm out, but I felt if we just let her close, giving her that little extra time off, we’d come back strong,” Beatty said of her unusual pitching rotation in Game 2.
Love also helped prevent the start of a Larkin rally in a 5-2 game in the bottom of the fifth while playing center field. She made a running, diving catch of a liner in the gap.
“I never really get to play outfield for us because I’m usually in the infield or pitching, but this year we have a surplus of girls who can play infield so I can finally play outfield — center field is my favorite position,” she said. “I love doing that stuff.”
D-C (1-1) jumped on losing pitcher Amanda Smithberg for four runs over the first two innings on six hits and benefited from three errors. Jessica Lewandowski went 3-for-4 with three RBI in Game 2, while Lauren Mercado had two hits.
In Game 1, it was a completely different story as the Royals (1-2) scored four runs off Eissler in the first inning, including a three-run home run by Nikki Banks after Alex Buhrow had smashed an RBI double. Banks had three hits and four runs scored on the day, and missed hitting another home run on a foul that cleared the fence but missed the pole by inches.
“She’s an aggressive hitter,” Vogt said of Banks. “She goes out there and takes a nice big hack every time she gets up there.
“We worked hard the last couple weeks on her swing. She’s done a great job. She had a little bit of baseball swing. Now she’s trying to stay level through the zone.”
The Royals added a six-run fifth, and the game ended by slaughter rule on Smithberg’s RBI single. Jaclyn Saurbaugh had two hits in the first game, including a double.
Larkin didn’t need all its offense because Schock totally shut down D-C. She threw a two-hitter, striking out four without walking anyone.
“Kiernan did a great job and our bats came alive,” Vogt said. “We really put it together. We couldn’t ask for more for that first game. Lots of players stepped up.”