Softball: Minooka turns back Lincoln-Way East
By Randy Whalen For Sun-Times Media March 31, 2014 8:38PM
Updated: March 31, 2014 10:03PM
Minooka picked up where it left off last season.
Despite graduating six starters from the 2013 Class 4A state championship team, the Indians didn’t miss a beat Monday in cruising to a 4-1 victory over Lincoln-Way East in the season opener for both teams in Frankfort.
For Minooka, Meghan Quirk went the distance in the circle, and one of the returnees, center fielder Jordyn Larsen, had a two-run single to highlight a three-run first inning.
“We definitely couldn’t wait to get out and play,” Larsen said. “We’ve got a lot of new people, but this (Lincoln-Way East) was one of the teams we defeated last year and we wanted to come out and show them we’re still a good team.”
In 2013, Minooka defeated East 3-1 to win the Class 4A Crete-Monee Regional title.
The game’s first two batters, Alyssa Hajduk (2-for-2) and Marissa Burns (2-for-4), had back-to-back singles for Minooka. After moving up on a passed ball, both scored when Larsen laced a liner to left. Larsen later scored when Geri Westerhoff (2-for-4) hit an RBI single to right.
“It definitely felt good and was good that I didn’t get off to a rough start again like last year,” Larsen said. “No one is thinking that we’re going to win state again. We just want to play them one at a time and not put any pressure on ourselves.”
Quirk allowed one earned run on six hits while walking two and striking out two. The right-hander helped her cause by drilling a home run down the left-field line in the third for a 4-0 lead.
“I wasn’t going up expecting to hit a home run,” Quirk said. “But I got my nerves out and it just happened.
“I’ve respectfully waited my turn (to pitch as a senior) and worked hard in the offseason. I’ve learned to control my nerves more and had an awesome defense behind me.”
Each team made an error in the first inning, but none after that. The Indians, who had nine hits, snagged everything in sight, including throwing a runner out at home in the sixth and converting a line drive into a double play in the seventh.
The Griffins scored their run in the sixth. Olivia Prieto reached on a bunt single and later scored when Jenny Van Geertry (3-for-3) poked an RBI single to right.
“It feels good to get out here and play,” Van Geertry said. “We just hit the ball hard at their players. We’re still expecting a good season.”