Softball: Zee-Bees get runs by the dozen in rout of Highland ParkZion pitcher Janika May fires one home against Highland Park batter Sarah Glazer. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 9, 2012 10:23AM
In a lot of ways, this is a transition year for Zion-Benton.
The three-year core of standout players has graduated, and a new group of very young, talented players is now learning what it takes to win at the varsity level.
So far, so good.
Tuesday’s 15-1, five-inning thumping of visiting Highland Park gave the Zee-Bees a 3-1 mark, including a third-place finish in the prestigious Spring Fling tourney at Barrington.
And they’re doing it with a squad that’s going to get better as the year progresses.
“It’s a new year, with a lot of new kids. I have four freshmen out here,” noted longtime Z-B coach Rick Rymer.
The highlight of Tuesday’s win was a 12-run second inning.
It went down like this:
Walk. Single. Bunt single to load the bases. Fielder’s choice, with runner safe at home. Three-run triple by Courtney Hallgren. Sacrifice fly that was dropped for an error. Single. Wild pitch scores a run. Single. Walk. Pop-fly out. Fielder’s choice out. Two-run double by Leiana Moragne. Two-run double by Nika May. RBI single by Hallgren. Two runs score on a dropped fly ball. Ground out ends the inning.
May was the winning pitcher.
“Nika is our No. 1,” said Rymer. “Her strikeout-to-walk ratio is terrific right now. We have five or six girls who can pitch, but she’ll be in the circle 99 percent of the time in the important games.
“There’s a freshman on our JV, Kyra Lenzi, who will pitch against Geneva on Monday. She’s a big girl like (former Lake Zurich pitcher Megan) Matera was. She’ll probably be the one who takes over for us after Nika graduates.”
The team’s hottest hitter in the early going is junior first-sacker Brianna Urban. She came into the game hitting .550 and was 2-for-3 against Highland Park.
“We have a goal to make it to the sectional rounds this year,” said Rymer. “Two years in a row, we’ve been taken out in the final of our own regional, by two very good teams, so that’s been a point of emphasis for us.”