Softball: Emily Naegele, Emily Larsen provide plenty for Oak Forest
Updated: June 1, 2012 9:49PM
Thursday’s rain delayed the Class 3A Providence Sectional semifinals for a day. There was little chance the storm would dampen the sizzling-hot bat of Oak Forest’s Emily Naegele.
Naegele smashed nearly everything in her path, going 4-for-5 with a home run as the Bengals dispatched Kankakee 5-1 on Friday. Oak Forest (26-12) advances to meet host Providence for the sectional title at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I’ve been getting walked a lot. I got really excited when I realized they were going to pitch to me,” Naegele said. “I was just trying to stay patient and not let nerves get to me in a game like this. I knew the ball (home run) was gone as soon as I hit it.”
Naegele clobbered the sixth-inning solo shot over the scoreboard in left-center to give the Bengals a 4-1 lead. She finished with two doubles, two RBI and a stolen base.
“That was the farthest I’ve seen a ball hit in a long time,” Oak Forest coach Katy Dammer said about Naegele’s homer. “She’s been leading the offense all year for us.”
Naegele wasn’t the only Bengal who was hot Friday.
Emily Larsen recorded 12 strikeouts while walking none in pitching a complete game. She allowed five hits on the day.
“I didn’t even know I threw that many (strikeouts),” Larsen said. “That’s a lot. It’s up there with my best. I think I threw 13 once, but who’s counting.”
Larsen stifled Kankakee (25-13), which came in averaging nearly 10 runs per game. Friday’s game marked the first time all season Kays leadoff hitter and Illinois-recruit Kylie Johnson went hitless.
“We had a little bit of a rocky start to the year,” Naegele said about catching for Larsen. “But her confidence has continued to grow. I think today she took the mound with the most confidence she’s had all season.”
Oak Forest also received offensive contributions from Calie Delisi (3-for-4, RBI), Kylie Powers (2-for-4, RBI) and Shannon Coyle (2-for-4).