Hart stays hot in second straight softball win

Lucy Hart still had a solid season for Evanston’s softball team as a junior last year.

But to some extent, the sweet-swinging Wildkit first baseman found out how the other half lives after tearing up opposing pitchers as a freshman and a sophomore at the varsity level.

Now a senior, Hart continued her torrid hitting pace Monday with a pair of doubles and 3 runs batted in as the Wildkits whipped visiting Trinity 13-0 for their second straight win this spring.

Evanston, 2-5 overall,  scored a slaughter rule win as Hart led the offense and winning pitcher Molly Chambers struck out 7 in the 5-inning contest.

Hart picked up where she left off in Game 2 of a doubleheader Saturday with Lane Tech, a game in which she banged out 3 hits to help deliver Evanston’s first win of the year.

Coach Amy Gonzales’ squad stroked 9 hits against a Trinity team that cooperated fully. The losers committed two errors and were charged with 8 wild pitches and 4 passed balls, and ETHS scored 3 times on errant pitches by losing hurler Rachel McGovern.

ETHS scored 4 times in the first inning, 5 in the second and tacked on 4 more in the last two at-bats on a sunny, 70-degree day on their home field.

“It’s good to see that we’re finally hitting,” said Gonzales. “And we did that against against a program that’s been pretty solid the last couple of years. The first two weeks of our schedule we’ve been up against some pretty solid teams.

“This is more of what I expected to see this year when it comes to putting the ball in play, especially from our core (returning starters) players who have been in the program the longest (Hart, Molly Chambers, Zoe Canafax, Chloe Haack).  When they hit like they did today, it puts everyone else more at ease. Hitting is contagious. It started with Chloe’s leadoff hit and now I think they’re all becoming more confident and more comfortable.”

Haack’s fly ball single to center started a 4-run uprising in the first , and she came all the way around to score on a throwing error following Zoe Landolt’s sacrifice bunt. Hart lined a double to left center and scored on an outfield error --- on a drive absolutely crushed by Canafax --- and the rout was on.

Hart added a two-run double in the second, walked and stole a base in the third, and drove in a run with an infield out in the fourth. She also pulled off an unassisted, inning-ending double play in the third on defense when she snatched a line drive off the bat of Trinity’s Heather Shorthall.

The left-hander has been a mainstay at first base all four years for ETHS, although there were times in the second half of the season last spring in which she appeared to be overmatched by power pitchers.

Gonzales pointed out that many young players find themselves in a similar situation to Hart.

“The first couple of years are very different sometimes from your junior and senior years, because at that point people know who you are,” Gonzales explained. “You don’t see the same pitches you saw when you were a freshman or a sophomore. It happens to everybody, and you have to make adjustments.

“This is how Lucy is going to hit for us on a regular basis this year. She’s a gap hitter and she has a great swing. Sometimes you can try too hard --- wanting to be able to do it all sometimes takes over --- when you just have to stay relaxed and put the bat on the ball.”       

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