Grayslake Central takes advantage of big fifth inning in lopsided victory

SHARE Grayslake Central takes advantage of big fifth inning in lopsided victory

If you hadn’t seen Grayslake Central play before, you might have thought first-year Rams coach Jason Schaal must be pulling names out of a hat when deciding on his team’s batting order.

How else can one explain what occurred during a 10-run fifth inning that started with Lakes ahead 4-2 and ended with Grayslake Central cruising to a 12-4 win at the semifinals of the Class 3A Ridgewood Sectional in Norridge?

In that inning, the Rams’ 7-8-9 hitters went a combined 5-for-5 with five runs scored and three RBI.

Theresa Curtis, Teagan Truskowski and Brittany Brown … your table is ready.

The epic fifth started with Lakes ahead 4-2 and senior Taylor Dishinger in the circle trying to protect the lead and facing 8-9-1 in the Rams’ order.

But after two singles and a hit-batsman loaded the bases, Dishinger was replaced by sophomore Ally Perdue. She faced nine batters and the only out she got was on a sacrifice fly. Dishinger came back in and got the final two outs of the inning, but Rome already had burned.

Lakes finished its season 19-17. Perdue hit a two-run homer that put Lakes ahead 4-2 in the top of the fifth, and her leadoff single sparked a two-run fourth that broke a 0-0 tie.

Brandy Heraty hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to get Grayslake Central (23-12) even at 2-2 and set the stage for the bottom of the fifth.

“I had the mindset going in of just driving the ball,” Heraty said. “Fortunately, I got a pitch right down the middle, and I just took it. I’m happy I was able to get my team back into the game. This team never dies. We just keep going and never give up.”

Brown was the winning pitcher, despite allowing 13 hits and one walk. She’ll have to be better on Saturday when the Rams face mighty Wauconda, which has the area’s best pitcher and a ton of good hitters.

Lakes played without two of its better players, sisters Montana and Chandler Mang, whose family just moved out of the area. Ashley Horner had three hits, and Cassidy Schaar and Abbi Mehnert two each.

Grayslake finished with 13 hits, with five different players getting two each.

“Give Lakes credit. They started with great enthusiasm and took the lead two different times,” said Schaal. “They really put the pressure on us. I’m just so proud of the way this group bounced back, especially with that fifth inning, putting as many batters up as we did.

“We have an hour and 30-minute bus ride back,” the coach added. “We’ll enjoy it, and then it’s time to start getting ready for (star pitcher) Kayla Wedl and every other girl that wears that Wauconda uniform.”

On the Lakes side, veteran coach Bill Hammil spoke with pride about how his girls had battled against the odds that had nothing to do with runs, hits and errors.

“We don’t have a Kayla Wedl in the circle or a girl that other teams are going to intentionally walk because they hit bombs, but these girls played for the name on the front, and not the name on the back,” the coach said. “That’s what they have to do, and that’s what they did for me. This team makes it worth coming back.”

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