Teamwork brings girls softball closer together on, off the field

A tough season for the girls softball team culminated in a similarly tough first-round playoff loss against Lane Tech.

“Lane Tech is one of the best teams we played this season, and I think we put our best foot forward for that final game, even if it didn’t end the way we were hoping,” says senior team member Kelsey Blickenstaff.

After Evanston went three up, three down against Lane to start the game off, the Kits roared back with two up, two down in the bottom 1st, but that third out proved illusive. Back-to-back singles, a walk and a three-run homer would have to be given up first before the Kits returned to the dugout.

Now chasing a 4-0 deficit, Evanston put up one in the top of the second after a pair of walks by Class of ‘22 senior Katie Patton and sophomore Aayna Ghose, a bunt by sophomore Maya Nelson that loaded the bases and a passed ball that scored Patton. But unfortunately for the Kits, both Ghose and Nelson were left on base that inning after a pop out and strikeout rendered them stranded.

As the Indians tacked runs onto their lead—three in the 3rd, two in the 4th, two more in the 5th and one in the 6th—the Kits struggled to put up any offense. In fact, E-Town was only able to score one more run that day largely thanks to a double by sophomore Delila Liston in the top of the 5th. In the end, all those runs added up to a final score of 12-2.

While the loss was definitely a tumultuous one, it wasn’t exactly unprecedented—the Wildkits were only able to win just two games this season. And because the team’s sole wins came against Lake Forest and DePaul Prep, the Kits’ conference record included zero wins. That being said, there were a handful of conference games that could have easily went the other way had just a few things gone differently, like a 4-3 loss to Maine West, an 11-10 loss to New Trier and a 7-6 loss to Glenbrook North.

If there’s any silver-lining to softball’s performance this year, it’s that the team improved as the season went on; both of its wins came in the last five games and its two biggest losses were in the season-opening double-header.

“Over the course of the season we learned to work as a team,” says Blickenstaff, “and that’s what made this year fun.”