Softball: Lincoln-Way West blanks Andrew for 30th win of season
By Tony Baranek email@example.com May 22, 2014 7:22PM
Updated: June 24, 2014 8:05AM
Dani Morgan had a lot to smile about Thursday.
She hit the first pitch of the game over the fence, and that was the difference in Lincoln-Way West’s 1-0 win over host Andrew.
“I love leading off,” she said. “I love to get the team behind me. We just work well together.”
The victory made West a runaway Southland best at 30-1 overall. The Warriors are a perfect 14-0 in the SouthWest Suburban Red.
“It’s exciting,” Morgan said. “We’ve really been practicing, working hard. We don’t take anything for granted. It’s been fun.”
Sophomore right-hander Amanda Ruskowsky gave a glimpse of the future as she ran her personal record to 10-0 with a four-hit shutout.
There isn’t much drop-off in Warriors pitching behind Southland strikeout queen Morghan Dieringer.
“She’s a great role model and I look up to her very much,” Ruskowsky said of Dieringer. “She’s a great pitcher. I’m kind of sad to see her go next year.”
West won’t miss a beat if Ruskowsky pitches like she did Thursday.
Andrew advanced just one runner past second base, that coming in the first inning when Gianni Iannantone (single) made it to third before Ruskowsky struck out Abbie Bailey to end the threat.
The Thunderbolts (23-8, 11-3) had baserunners in the second, fifth, sixth and seventh, but Ruskowsky stranded them all.
“I just knew I had to get ahead on the count and then work my corners and use my rise ball, too,” she said.
Andrew’s Hannah Thielmann allowed just five hits. She sparkled on defense in the circle, catching one line drive and doubling a runner off second base and spearing a grounder and catching a runner trying to score from third.
Thielmann was Ruskowsky’s equal — save one pitch.
“The first pitch of the game,” Thielmann said, smiling. “But you know what? (Morgan) is an awesome player. The second time I pitched to her I tried to walk her intentionally and she bunted (for a single). I tip my cap to her. You can’t not.
“I was lucky I got the opportunity to pitch against them. It was kind of cool on my Senior Night to go out with a bang. It stinks we lost, but it’s a good loss. We played really well defensively, but we just couldn’t connect.”