Varsity Women’s 12-Inch Softball Team off to a Slippery Start
by Cristian Trandafir
The weather on Monday, March 12, took a turn for the worse as the Varsity women’s softball team played against Resurrection for their first game of the season. The day started off according to previous weather forecasts, with temperatures ranging around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a cold breeze throughout the day. Many team members were apprehensive about showing up to the team meeting after school. The CPS guidelines state that if the weather is 40 or below, the game will be cancelled and the match rescheduled. Unfortunately, no one could account for the temperature drop in the afternoon and the light snow that would come to rain on the parade, so the game started and was played as usual.
The Mustangs had home field advantage with the game being played at Thillens Stadium. Up to bat first was team captain, Eva Empleo, Adv. 810. Empleo has been very involved in both softball and baseball, playing for the Mustangs all four years of her high school career. Fellow captain, Kathryn Merck, Adv. 800, has also done the same. Unfortunately, Merck is still suffering from a torn muscle in her leg, restricting her ability to run bases and properly bat. “I still show up to every practice and help the other team members get better, even if I can’t,” Merck explains. She hopes to rejoin the team after her leg recovers in the coming weeks. Despite the loss, the Mustangs still took an early lead over the Resurrection Bandits.
After three outs, the Bandits stepped up to the plate. The star pitcher of the Mustangs, Erin Frankee, Adv. 908, was quick to strike out two of the opposing team’s members. However, the third batter crushed the ball. It seemed to pass over the looming snow-filled clouds, before falling sharply into left field. Despite coming down in foul territory, Maya Gorman, Adv. 901, was able to run over and make the catch.
In the second inning, the snow began to fall. It started off as light pellets, but eventually amassed to a mini-snow storm. There was not enough snow to coat the ground or impair vision, but the field did become more slippery. Although players could slide and dive more easily, the loss of traction also worked against both teams’ speed in getting to the bases. Northside batted in two more runs, but the Bandits were able to tie the game by scoring some of their own. The third inning started with the conclusion of the snow fall. Neither team was able to get any runs, largely in part to the freezing temperatures and slippery field.
The fourth inning kicked off with Empleo hitting a line drive and subsequently making her way to first base. Carleen Jones, Adv. 807, followed with a hit, allowing Empleo to make it to second. Caroline Merck, Adv. 901, kept the streak going and singled, which resulted in the bases being loaded. With the team set for a grand slam, Bailey Nicholoff, Adv. 103, hit a sacrifice pop fly, allowing Empleo and Jones to make it home safely after tagging up. With the Mustangs being two runs up, hope looked dire for the Bandits when they came up to bat.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs, the Bandits came back in the fifth inning, claiming the lead by scoring three runs. In the sixth inning, the Bandits batted in two more runs, putting them ahead of the Mustangs, 8-5. In the final inning, Nicholoff hit a home run, which prompted shouts of “She’s a freshman!” from the Mustangs. Unfortunately, they were not able to carry the momentum of their cheers onto the field and ended up losing 8-6 to the Resurrection Bandits.