Softball: Schroeder’s blast keys Lincoln-Way Central
Four batters into Monday’s SouthWest Suburban Blue match-up, Joliet West already had hard-hit doubles by Tresa Fahrner, Katie McKay and Jordan Davis.
Before Lincoln-Way Central had an opportunity to swing the bats, the Knights were in a 2-0 hole.
But two defensive mistakes by the Tigers in the bottom of the first set up cleanup hitter Taylor Schroeder’s momentum changer, a three-run home run over the center-field fence off McKay that ignited Central’s 6-3 victory.
“I don’t know. It feels like I close my eyes and swing,” Schroeder said when asked about the pitch she mashed for her third homer. “I didn’t know if it would go out, but I was praying it would. It felt good when I hit it.”
The Knights scored four all told in the bottom of the first, and right-hander Melanie Bakotic (3-1) pitched with renewed confidence from there. Fahrner’s second double in the second would be the last hit for West (10-10, 1-3).
“She is phenomenal,” Schroeder said of Bakotic, a freshman. “I’ve never seen anyone so young with so much talent, and she has the drive, too.”
“She settled down nicely, and give credit to the senior (Schroeder, who also singled), too,” Central coach Steve Paulsen said. “She’s been hitting well all year. We did a nice job moving runners along, we made the plays defensively and my second baseman (Kaleigh Barrett) was diving everywhere to make catches.”
The lead dwindled to 4-3 for Central (10-6, 3-2) when West scored an unearned run in the top of the fourth, but the Knights scored two in the bottom of the inning with the help of the Tigers’ third error.
“We’ve been hitting the ball,” West coach Heather Suca said. “We need to get tougher on the other side of the ball. And I know we can play better defense; I’ve seen it.”