Lennon helps Kits hold on for 13-11 win over Trevs
No matter how much success she has in the circle for Evanston’s softball program, odds are that Lexi Lennon won’t forget her first varsity win.
Not because it came against arch-rival New Trier, but because the freshman pitcher has plenty of bruises to show for it.
Battered by a line drive back to the mound, and hit twice by pitches at the plate, Lennon persevered in relief of starter Serafina Goodwill Tuesday as the Wildkits held off the Trevians by a 13-11 margin in Northfield.
ETHS pulled even on the season with a 9-9 won-loss record by scoring another victory over New Trier, the 6th in a row overall in the head-to-head matchup between the two rivals.
Lennon, who has divided her time between the varsity and junior varsity on a week-to-week basis for the Wildkits, entered the fray as New Trier wiped out an early 4-0 deficit versus Goodwill by pouring across 7 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
She held the hosts scoreless until she was hit on her pitching elbow in the 7th. Earlier, she’d been whacked on her shin by a wicked line drive off the bat of New Trier’s Annie Iueter, and the shaken-up freshman surrendered 4 runs after an error before finally closing the door on the win.
Lennon’s pitching combined with a season-high 16 hits to deliver the memorable win. Chloe Haack went 4-for-5 with 3 runs scored, Kristen Stocks added 3 hits and Goodwill drove in 3 runs with a single and a double for the visitors.
Lennon and Goodwill are part of a 4-person freshman pitching staff that ETHS head coach Amy Gonzales is counting on to push the Wildkits past just respectability as a program when they finally mature. Lennon warmed up in the bullpen right from the start of Tuesday’s contest and didn’t disappoint with the game on the line.
She wriggled out of a second and third, 1-out situation created by Goodwill in the 4th, then contributed a scoreless 5th and 6th before faltering in the 7th.
Gonzales had to visit the circle to calm her team --- and especially Lennon --- down when they were in danger of letting another lead slip away.
“I just told them relax, don’t get so worked up, just stay within yourselves,” said Gonzales. “I thought Lexi came in and did a really nice job for us today, even though she got beat up a little. She got us the ground balls and fly balls we needed.
“We told her from the get-go this season that she’d pitch at both levels. Serafina threw a lot of pitches yesterday (in a win over Mundelein Carmel), and it’s nice to not have her required to pitch every inning. The whole goal this season has been for Lexi to help her out. And every time she’s come in for us, she’s gotten the job done.”
Lennon brought relief on a day with the wind blowing out hard to left. Between them, Goodwill and Lennon allowed 12 hits, but the Trevians didn’t manage anything more than a single until that late uprising in the 7th when both Iueter and Luciana Orta hit consecutive RBI doubles.
Evanston countered with a balanced attack that featured hits from 8 of the 9 starters.
Goodwill helped her own cause with a 2-run double in the 3rd, and scored herself on an infield hit by Cristal Rodriguez. The Kits tacked on another run in the 4th, doing all the damage with 2 outs on consecutive singles by Haack, Stocks and Goodwill.
The visitors cranked up their offense again in the 5th, erupting for 8 runs and chasing Trevian starter Emilia Orta. ETHS sent 11 batters to the plate, highlighted by Katy Patton’s 2-run double off the fence, a drive that just missed clearing the barrier for a home run. Lucia Goldberg contributed both a single and a double in that frame, too.
Lennon’s leadoff walk produced an insurance run in the 6th, thanks to 3 wild pitches from reliever Iueter.
The Wildkits will resume a suspended game with Glenbrook South at home on Wednesday. The two teams are tied at 11-all after 8 innings.