The hitters in Evanston’s softball lineup probably can’t count on Mother Nature for any kind of a break in the freezing weather for some time.
The Wildkits might even have to deal with snow and see-your-breath cold when the calendar flips to May. But a better hitting approach in the last two outings helped the Wildkits break loose on offense despite less-than-ideal playing conditions.
After belting Regina Dominican 22-4 last Friday, Coach Katie Perkins’ squad ripped line drives to all fields Tuesday and scored a 10-2 triumph on the road at Niles North in Central Suburban League play.
Four players --- Zoe Canafax, Meg Eisfelder, Lucy Hart and Chloe Hack --- each had a pair of hits as the winners recorded 10 hits to back the 1-hit relief pitching of sophomore Molly Chambers over the last 5 innings. Evanston improved to 5-3-1 overall on the season, 2-1 in conference play.
More important was the statistic that showed a total of only 4 strikeouts combined for the Kits, who had a tendency to swing from their heels until lately.
Perkins credited better recognition of pitches for her squad’s surge on offense this week.
“We were very slow on defense in the first inning and we didn’t see the ball at the plate as well as we would’ve liked to,” pointed out the third-year head coach. “Then all of a sudden we started swinging the bats and hitting line drives to the grass (outfield), and that’s just what we want to do. We had much better discipline at the plate.
“We got a lot of reps in practice with our hitters over the past week and our approach at the plate is definitely a lot better now.”
Evanston struck for one run in the first inning, three more in the third and one in the fifth before breaking the contest open with a five-run sixth.
Canafax’s steal of home in the first came as the result of one of Perkins’ pet plays, a baserunning bluff to force a potential pickoff at first with the bases loaded before Canafax broke for the plate. But the Vikings (5-7, 0-2) responded with a pair of runs in their half of the frame against ETHS starting pitcher Grace Elwood.
Leading 2-1 in the third, North pitcher Marika Kalodiomos issued a four-pitch walk to Canafax that ignited another rally. Eisfelder lined a single over the shortstop’s head that plated Canafax, Hart followed with an infield single, and a groundout and a wild pitch pushed the visitors to a 4-2 lead.
Canafax singled to start the fifth inning and that blow led to an unearned run. In the sixth, the winners totaled four hits, three walks and three wild pitches against reliever Alyssa Aragon.
Chambers faced only one batter over the minimum after taking over for Elwood in the third. Jaime Frake grounded a single down the first base line leading off the sixth for the only hit against the right-hander, who struck out 4 and walked 2.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.