Softball: Providence gets better of Joliet WestProvidence's Ellie Bartosz gets a hit against Joliet West at Providence High School in New Lenox, Illinois, Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012. | Michael DiNovo~For the Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 22, 2012 8:47PM
Providence jumped on Joliet West with three runs in each of the first two innings Thursday, so coach Jay Biesterfeld was looking for more of the same in the third inning.
“Let’s get three more,’’ Biesterfeld shouted as the Celtics ran in after Allie Strick recorded her fourth strikeout to end the top of the third.
Providence didn’t add to its total, stymied by four strong relief innings from West’s Amy Diaz, but the Celtics still earned a 6-2 victory after a season-opening loss Tuesday to Plainfield South.
“We struggled a little at the plate Tuesday,’’ Biesterfeld said. “That was a point of emphasis today, be a little more aggressive at the plate. Try to get some early runs.’’
And the Celtics did. Jessica Jatis stroked a two-out, bases-loaded double in the first and Amanda Wilson’s two-out, two-run double made it 5-0 in the second. Tara Airola then added an RBI single.
“Any time you can get big, two-out hits, that makes a difference,’’ Biesterfeld said. “We could have just as easily been out of those innings with no runs. We came through with the hits.’’
Strick pitched six innings, yielding two runs on three singles and an error in the fourth. Wilson struck out the side in the seventh.
“I thought I threw good,’’ Strick said. “My screwball worked well, I was happy about that. That’s my best pitch.’’
“I thought she really threw well today,’’ Biesterfeld said. “She was really popping the ball, mixing up her pitches.’’
Coach Heather Suca was pleased with Diaz’s relief performance for Joliet West (3-1).
“She showed us a lot today, that she can come in with control in a down situation,’’ Suca said. “I thought she dominated them pretty well. I thought she did a very good job.’’
Errors in the first two innings that helped Providence take the lead were another matter.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball on defense,’’ Suca said. “We’ve got to help our pitchers out. And we will. We’re working on some things, looking at some different positions.’’