SouthtownStar’s softball notebook

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Brooke Wilson was having a big day.

It was a May 15 game against host Lockport, and the Marist junior had an RBI triple in the first inning and walked, stole a base and scored in the third.

Wilson hadn’t even fully caught her breath after crossing the plate and returning to the dugout when a foul ball by teammate Bella Wilkinson came screaming through a small opening above the protective fence.

“I was taking my helmet off and facing the bench,” Wilson said. “I didn’t see it coming at all.”

The ball hit Wilson in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground. Wilson never lost consciousness, and after a few tense minutes was able to get back on her feet. A trip to the hospital, however, revealed that she had suffered a concussion.

Wilson missed eight days before returning to the field May 23 vs. Conant.

“Two days later I started running around but I wasn’t allowed to practice until the next Thursday,” Wilson said. “When I practiced hard they put me back in that Friday.

“I think (the experience) made me come back a lot more hungry to hit. It was so boring to sit and watch five games. That was the week they played every single day.”

Tuesday, Wilson landed the first knockout punch against Richards with a three-run first-inning double in the RedHawks’ 8-1 Class 4A Reavis Sectional semifinal victory.

In her next at-bat, she singled to right.

“I was just happy to pass the concussion test, come back strong and get back in the swing of things,” Wilson said.

On the rise

Bremen’s 14-13 record under first-year coach Renee Rybak was the best in a while for a Braves team. It included a rare double for the Midlothian school: victories over District 228 rivals Tinley Park and Oak Forest.

“The hard work we put in to practice made us more competitive,” said Rybak, a Bremen alum (2004) and former player. “The season for me went quickly and at times was stressful, but the stress was worth it to see the girls succeed.

“I’m just grateful to my assistant (Michelle Luby), because without her we would not have been (as) successful.”

The Braves’ 8-7 win over Oak Forest in the Class 3A Bremen Regional semifinals was as dramatic as it gets.

The Braves trailed by a run in the seventh when Katie Hayes sent it to extras with an RBI single. In the eighth, freshman Alicia Kolacki tripled and scored what proved the game-winner on a double by Emily Gerhardt.

“The Oak Forest game was very intense,” Rybak said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my players.

“We always said we would never give up and they didn’t. They put everything they had into that game and they were successful.”

Erin Schaffrath and Bridget Hayes tied for the team lead with .521 averages, ahead of Lindsey Dudek (.480) and Gerhardt (.471).

Player of the Week

Sydney Zupan, of Beecher, is the SouthtownStar Player of the week.

Landis, a sophomore third baseman, was 4-for-8 with four runs as Beecher swept Chicago Christian and Reed-Custer to win the Class 2A Reed-Custer Sectional.Westmont shortstop Charlie Donovan is accustomed to playing in the spotlight.

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