Chicago Christian had the tying run at third and no outs in the seventh inning of its Suburban Christian game against host St. Edward on Friday.
“I was really nervous,” Lady Wave pitcher Lindsey Zdroik said. “It was such a close game.”
There may be no better friend to a pitcher in a tight situation than a popped up bunt, and that’s what Zdroik got. She caught it, doubled the Knights’ runner off of third, and then struck out her eighth hitter to end the game and give St. Edward a 4-3 victory.
Chicago Christian coach Kevin Pittman saw the game’s dramatic finish as par for the course in a frustrating stretch for his Knights.
“This is our third game this week we’ve played extremely close like this,” Pittman said. “Softball is a game of inches and we’ve been inches from getting a win but we’ve taken it on the chin every time. We’re a little bit snakebitten right now.
“Davina (Gutierrez) pitched four games this week and pitched three of them well enough that we should be 3-1.”
St. Edward (12-8, 6-4) got its first run in the second inning on a missile launched into the teeth of a strong wind, off the bat of Allison Stratman.
“It was an inside pitch,” Stratman said. “I tend to swing early a lot so that’s my favorite kind of pitch to hit. I have two home runs and they’re both off of (Gutierrez). And we’re on a four-game winning streak right now so we’re getting into it.”
Lady Wave coach Jaci Corn likes what her cleanup hitter has done this season.
“She’s in the fourth spot for a reason,” Corn said of Stratman. “Her and (Zdroik), for sophomores, they are very composed and disciplined at the plate. They’re a big part of the team.”
Chicago Christian (7-14, 2-7) took a 2-1 lead in the third on a Lady Wave throwing error and an RBI single by Bre Vollan.
St. Edward quickly answered, scoring three runs in the bottom of the third.
Kaitlin Freeman singled home Shannon McShane, and Stratman tripled and scored on a single by Kelly Theriault. Jasmine DeLeon also scampered home in the inning.
Zdroik took over on the mound for Lady Wave starter Emily Stapay (4-2) to start the fourth inning, and struck out eight of the 17 hitters she faced.
“As long as Lindsey is working ahead, she maintains control of the batters,” Corn said. “Today, she was working ahead. And Emily has pitched well for us.”
Neither team scored in the the fourth through sixth innings, but Chicago Christian’s Kaycee Pittman singled to lead off the seventh.
Sam Kubik reached first on a throwing error that scored Pittman, and advanced to third on the play before the game’s final dramatic moments played out.