Softball: Timothy Christian falls in regional
Timothy Christian softball teammates Emily Gifford and Hope Zastrow live minutes away from each other in Westmont but are on different traveling teams and rarely see each other in the summer.
This spring the juniors were practically inseparable.
Gifford was the Trojans' only experienced pitcher and took the mound in all 21 games.
Zastrow always was behind the plate to catch her.
"It was a challenge. It was hard on my body, but at the same time I was loving the playing time," Gifford said. "Getting to pitch that often, it was fun. I love pitching. It was a good experience."
On Tuesday they played their usual positions and the Trojans again had just nine active players as they lost to Guerin Prep 9-1 in the Class 2A IC College Prep regional semifinals at the Plunkett Athletic Complex in Elmhurst.
ICCP (16-17), the No. 2 seed in its subsectional of the Lisle sectional, will play No. 3 Guerin (12-10) for the regional title Saturday. The starting time has been moved up to 10 a.m.
No. 5 Timothy (3-21) was limited to 3 hits by freshman pitcher Celeste Boshold (5-3), who struck out six the first time through the order and finished with 9.
Timothy closed to 3-1 in the top of the fourth inning as sophomore Olivia Schuringa was hit by a pitch and scored on sophomore Lauren Gehrke's two-out single. The Gators pulled away with two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Zastrow had an infield single in the first and senior Jordan McDonald doubled in the fifth.
During the season Timothy lost twice to the Gators by double digits.
"Sometimes our biggest battle was showing up, and when we did, the games were close," Timothy coach Aaron Moore said. "This team beat us 29-4 last time (May 5). We just don't have a lot of people who play a lot of softball."
The Trojans only have 11 on their roster with three seniors -- right fielder Anita Duncan, shortstop Eloisa Arcos and left fielder McDonald. One player was injured and another out of town Tuesday.
"I would say more than half of our games have been with nine people. With no depth you can't make (lineup) changes," Moore said. "(Gifford) pitched in all of them. She probably pitched every inning but five or six."
Gifford (3-18) allowed 9 hits with 4 walks and struck out the last hitter she faced.
This season the Trojans' other two pitchers were newcomers to the mound and struggled with control. Other times innings were extended by errors. The roster does have four sophomores and one freshman.
"Everyone is just improving and with communication," Gifford said. "We're so tight-knit because we only have each other."
Great defense helped the Trojans hang tough Tuesday. Boshold, who usually plays shortstop and already is receiving Division I interest, tripled and had one of the Gators' four doubles. Boshold is hitting more than .600 with 12 homers and 68 RBI.
"Timothy Christian played outstanding," Guerin coach Tony Pecoraro said. "Every time we hit the ball, they were there making the plays so it was a nice win by us."
Two nice catches by Duncan were among those highlights Zastrow enjoyed along the way during a rough season record-wise. Zastrow survived her catching duties despite previously dislocating her kneecap three times, including last season just before spring break.
"That was a bit of a struggle, but I got used to it pretty quickly and we worked together as a team pretty well," Zastrow said. "I love my team for one thing. (I enjoyed) the improvements that I've gotten to see throughout all of the teammates. And seeing everyone get into talking with each other on the field as well as in the dugout. During the beginning of the season, we did not talk much at all."