Softball: Elmwood Park cruises to regional crown
Elmwood Park's Katelyn Jakobsen drives the ball for a hit, during the Tigers regional semifinal game against Clark High School May 22. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:52AM
Elmwood Park didn’t need any luck to claim its seventh straight regional crown. The Tigers just rolled through a pair of Chicago teams, dispatching Clark and Jones each by 10-0 scores in five-inning affairs on May 22, and 26, respectively.
The comfortable wins gave the Tigers all a chance to play and get a little confidence boost heading into the sectional round of the state series that begins on Thursday against local rival Guerin on Thursday.
Freshman Arianna Kelley hit a home run in each of the games while junior Gabby Uvelli started and won both contests. She threw three innings and struck out four batters in the title game against Jones with sophomore Nicole DiGiovanni closing out the final two frames and striking out another four as the duo combined for a no-hitter. Uvelli, DiGiovanni, and senior Katelyn Jakobsen struck out 12 batters altogether against Clark as senior Catherine Conte blooped one over third base to score the game-ending run in the fifth.
“We started off slow, but as the game progressed our defense was solid,” Kelley said about the regional championship game. “The pitch was low and outside, and I thought it was a pop-up because I’ve been hitting a lot of pop ups lately, but it felt good to hit (the home run).”
Junior Isaly Roman went 3-for-3 with a run scored and four RBI at the top of the order while freshman Abby Bitterman was 2-for-2 with three runs scored in the championship game from the bottom of the line-up. Jakobsen smacked a two-run double down the left field line in the semifinal.
For many on this young team it was a chance to begin their own chapter in the great history of the past decade of Elmwood Park softball while for the couple of seniors, it was their opportunity to continue the winning tradition they’ve been a part of for four years.
“It feels great,” Kelley said of winning the regional. “We’ve been trying the best we can and played hard with how good the team has been. As a freshman, I feel lucky to be part of this program.”
The Tigers (17-16) have already beaten each of the three other teams in their sectional. They bested Guerin at home 4-1 in their second game of the season while sweeping Metro Suburban Conference rivals Ridgewood and Fenton. While all those results should give Elmwood Park confidence heading into this round, they’re not about to think anything is already won.
“I’m sure Guerin will be ready to play,” said Elmwood Park head coach Brad Reynard. “They’ve become a crosstown rival in a lot of different sports. We look forward to it because we think that we’re playing pretty well. We’re taking care of teams the way we should, which is good to see. I’m sure we’re both different teams right now, so we’re looking forward to Thursday.”