Gabby Voulgaris’ double sparks 7-1 Lockport win

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Lockport cleanup hitter Gabby Voulgaris recognized that her summer teammate, Joy Treasure, was pitching her away.

Voulgaris was ready.

“I’ve been hitting outside pitches well,” she said Thursday after her two-run, fourth-inning double broke a scoreless tie and ignited Lockport’s 7-1 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory at Joliet West. “We needed this after the game against Lincoln-Way East.”

The Porters (15-7, 7-1) had a chance Tuesday to take control of the SWS Blue race. But East erased a 5-2 deficit with a six-run fifth inning and won 8-5. The two thus split their conference series and are tied in the loss column with one each.

“It was good to bounce back [against West],” Voulgaris said.

It’s all a matter of maintaining momentum.

“When we keep ‘mo’ on our side we seem to play our best,” Voulgaris said.

That’s the way it was Thursday. Ashley London singled home Voulgaris to cap the three-run fourth and the Porters also posted a three-run seventh against West reliever Katie McKay. Haylie Arndt and Kelly Pattison delivered RBI singles in the inning, which featured a heavy dose of small ball.

“Their first pitcher [Treasure] did a good job with our hitters,” Lockport coach Marissa Chovanec said. “We were hitting the ball in the air, and they can catch it. Once we hit the ball more on the ground, something happened.”

In fact, Treasure faced the minimum through three innings and had not yielded a hit.

The offensive production made things more comfortable for Porters right-hander Carly Dundee, who allowed five hits and one walk while striking out four in going the distance.

“I was getting the first pitch over for strikes better,” said Dundee, who helped herself with two RBI from the leadoff slot. “Once I got ahead of their hitters, I was able to get them off balance more.”

Dundee, who lost a shutout bid on Kristine Bourg’s run-scoring single in the fifth, said control was a bit of an issue early in the season but not as much lately. “Walks are always detrimental to the team,” she said.

“They have aggressive hitters, and Carly did a good job getting them to swing early in the count,” Chovanec said.

West (14-9, 4-5) had opportunities in the first two innings against Dundee but could not get the big hit.

“It was close into the fourth inning, but we didn’t get a big hit and they did,” Tigers coach Heather Suca said. “That [Voulgaris double] was the game-changer.

“Lockport made great defensive plays, they hit well and they’re well coached. They’re a great team. I’m happy we beat Sandburg this week and hit the ball well here against good pitching. The first time around against this sort of pitching, we struck out a lot and hit a of weak grounders. We didn’t do that this time.

“Facing teams like this will only make our young team better.”

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