Softball: Illiana Christian edges Glenbard South
By Bill Harrison For Sun-Times Media May 1, 2014 10:12PM
Updated: May 1, 2014 10:31PM
Minutes before the first pitch Thursday between Illiana Christian and Glenbard South, Vikings coach Allie Cable ran over to the Raiders dugout to inform them that left fielder Cassie Robertson wasn’t feeling well and would be replaced by Payton Van Kalker.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the score tied at 2, Van Kalker came up with the bases loaded and no outs. She wasn’t exactly having a good day at the plate to that point, going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk.
“I know I just needed to put it in play, and that’s what I tried to do,” said Van Kalker, who made a few nice catches in left that saved several runs.
She accomplished her goal, hitting a soft grounder to the second baseman that was just enough to score her cousin, Amanda Van Kalker, for a 3-2 Metro Suburban win. The victory put the Vikings (10-11, 6-1) a half-game ahead the Raiders (10-5, 5-1) in the standings.
Brooke VanderAa did it all for the Vikings to that point, shutting out the Raiders through six innings while accounting for the team’s first two runs with a two-run home run in the second with Ashley Wiltjer (2-for-3) on first.
VanderAa lost her shutout in the top of the seventh on an RBI groundount by Aimee Gerhardt, scoring Tricia Weigand, and an RBI single by Tarah Valdez, scoring Payton Carli (2-for-3).
Her teammates, however, answered the bell in the bottom of the inning.
“They won state the past two years so that’s pretty big and we haven’t been first in conference quit some time,” VanderAa said. “We knew when we only lost 2-1 last time and that we can beat them. We have a lot of confidence in each other.”
Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda has fielded back-to-back Class 3A title teams that had the ability to do the little things that win games. Failure to execute the bunt, whether it was a squeeze play or a sacrifice, may have been the difference against the Vikings.
“The key to the game was having runners on third and not being to execute the bunt,” Fonda said. “That pitcher did a great job of keeping the ball outside and hitting her spots. We were suckers on pitches we should have laid off.”
Cable, who hugged former coach Mike Oppenhuis after the game, notched her biggest win in her first year with the Vikings.
“A great win all around,” Cable said. “(Catcher) Tatum (Oppenhuis) called a great game, and we player errorless. We were thinking about bunting Payton, but she had a nice cut on the first pitch so my gut told me to let her hit.”