Softball: Jenn Claussen tosses a gem for Vernon HillsVernon Hills, IL 4/23/12 Lakes High School and Vernon Hills High School competed in softball at Vernon Hills Monday afternoon. Vernon Hills pitcher Jenn Claussen (1) pitches in the first inning. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 23, 2012 9:02PM
Jenn Claussen pitched a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts to lead host Vernon Hills past Lakes 3-0 on Monday in a key North Suburban Conference Prairie Division softball game.
The Cougars (13-6) completed the first round of division play 5-1, tied for first with Grant. Lakes dropped to 4-2 (11-7 overall).
“It was a tough night for us. We just didn’t get the bats going,” said Lakes coach Bill Hamill.
The coach also saw his team commit a key mental blunder that let the game’s first run score.
“It’s a learning process,” said Hamill. “By June, the plays will be automatic for them.”
In the top of the fifth Lakes had the bases loaded with one out on hits by Cassidy Schaar and Sara Braden, and an intentional walk.
Claussen then got a strikeout and an infield popout to keep the game scoreless.
Vernon Hills broke through in the bottom of the inning with three runs after Lakes failed to execute on a delayed double-steal, an infield out, and Jordyn Comitor’s RBI single.
“This was a big win for us,” said Claussen. “I had great defense behind me (one error in the game).”
Claussen is pitching a lot this year because ace Megan Melin has a leg injury. Meline was the team’s first baseman on Monday.
“I give a lot of credit to Jenn tonight,” Vernon Hills coach Steve Korney said. “She got us out of a couple of jams, coming up with big pitches in big spots.”
On Tuesday, Vernon Hills hosts Round Lake and Lakes at at Wauconda.