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Softball: Lincoln-Way East rallies past Lockport

Lincoln-Way East pitcher Sarah Esposifirst baseman Juell Hodges celebrate their 8-5 comeback wover Lockport.  |  John Patsch~For Sun-Times

Lincoln-Way East pitcher Sarah Esposito and first baseman Juell Hodges celebrate their 8-5 comeback win over Lockport. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 2, 2013 6:26AM



Lincoln-Way East’s Sarah Esposito sure knows how to make a coach look like a genius.

The Griffins were trailing Tuesday’s SouthWest Suburban Blue showdown against Lockport 5-2 after three innings when Elizabeth Pawlicki inserted the right-hander in relief. Esposito responded by shutting the Porters out the rest of the way.

Esposito’s effort also seemed to put vitality in her teammates, who roared to life in the bottom of the fifth, scoring six runs en route to an 8-5 victory.

Carissa Ernat went 4-for-4 with a critical two-run single, while Juell Hodges (3-for-3) also starred for East (12-3, 7-1). Carly Dundee and Gabby Voulgaris both hit home runs and Haylie Arndt and Jordan Arndt had two hits each for Lockport (14-7, 6-1).

“At the beginning of the game, coach said, ‘Be ready. We might split the game (pitching),’ ” Esposito said. “I said, ‘OK,’ and I got in my mind-set. When I was warming up my pitches were looking pretty good. Everything was breaking. I was ready to play.”

Lockport went right at Griffins starter Chrisi Mizera, with Dundee launching a leadoff home run to left. A double by Sarah DiMasi and back-to-back singles by the Arndt sisters resulted in two more runs in the second before Vougaris smashed a two-run homer in the third to make it 5-0.

East broke through in the bottom of the third against Lockport starter Emma Carter, scoring twice, on a sacrifice fly by Jenny Van Geertry and an RBI single by Hodges.

Esposito went to the circle for the Griffins in the top of the fourth and retired the first two batters she faced. It would be a trend.

Nice call, coach.

“We’ve been splitting a lot, left and right, between the two pitchers,” Pawlicki said. “Chrisi did a great job for a couple of innings, then Espo stepped it up big time.

“Sarah is becoming one heck of a player. She’s hitting her spots. To put a junior in such a high-profile game like that, she stepped up to the mound and we’re very proud of her for that.”

The game-winning rally began with a leadoff single by Jorgi Calombaris off Dundee, who had come on in relief. After a walk by Esposito, a single by Van Geertry and a walk by Hodges, Dundee was replaced by Grace Lancman.

Lancman lasted just three batters, as Blake Ruiz walked, Ashley Hesse reached on an error and Devon Morgan lined an RBI single. Porters coach Marissa Chovanec then reinserted Carter, who was greeted with a two-run single by Ernat.

“I still had confidence,” Ernat said. “I think our whole team knew that there was still plenty of time to come back. (Esposito) gave the team a sense of confidence, and we got more energy. It definitely helped us. She did a great job.”



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