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Raiders Top Hilltoppers in Softball

In one sense, it was just another game – no more important to either team’s record than playing any other non-conference team.

But when you have players that have played summer ball together and parents that have shared stories about the wins and losses with each other, it is a little special. There were large crowds of parents and students from both Glenbard West and South that saw a tightly fought battle that found Glenbard South victorious by a final score of 7-4.

Glenbard South jumped on top in the first inning, when Dani Chitkowski drilled a double to score Hannah Davey. The Raiders didn’t have time to celebrate, though, as Jacklyn Tyburk’s two run line drive home run in the bottom of the frame gave Glenbard West a 2-1 lead going into the second.

The see-saw battle continued as the Raiders came back in the second and scored again in the top of the third, taking a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the third inning. West’s Meghan Johnson doubled to cap a Hilltopper rally when she drove home Kelly Borneman and Rachel Hitzemann to tie the game 4-4.

“I was looking outside” said Meghan Johnson of her double. “But when the ball came inside, I just turned on it”.

The Raiders managed to hold off the Hilltoppers the rest of the way, as relief pitcher Stephanie Chitkowski shut down the potent West offense. But while the pitcher often gets the headlines, there is more to holding down a good hitting team.

“She always talks to me if I’m doing bad, and she just knows where to pitch everyone” said Stephanie Chitkowski of catcher Jane Trzaska. “I was throwing drops on the outside corner and they popped them up”.

The Raiders held a slim one run lead going into the seventh, but hits by Rachel Cohen, Dani Chitkowski and Jane Trzaska closed out the scoring.

“They have some great threats at the plate” said Raider Coach Julie Fonda of her West opponents. “Jackie (Tyburk) had a fantastic hit, and those lefty slappers wreak havoc. They are definitely playing good at the right time.”

Glenbard West, having a younger team with fewer seniors, has made great strides this year and in spite of the loss, seems to be peaking at the right time.

“In comparison to Monday (when West beat a ranked Downers Grove North team) I think we came out a little flat” said Hilltopper Coach Mary McGrane. “I felt our pitchers weren’t hitting their spots and we had too many outs in the air. Catching a fly ball is easy. We’re better when we stay on top of the ball and make the defense make plays. We didn’t make very good adjustments at the plate.”

As the regular season starts to wind down, both teams have received their Regional assignments. Glenbard South will begin their playoff run on May 26 in the Queen of Peace Regional. Glenbard West will start off against local foe Wheaton-Warrenville South on May 23 in the Barlett Regional.

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