Softball: Oswego hits 4 homers, blasts past Downers Grove South

Aubriella Garza, Savannah Page, Jaelynn Anthony, Kiyah Chavez all homer in 14-8 win

Oswego’s Savannah Page (1) smiles after hitting a three run homer against Downers Grove South during a softball game at Oswego High School on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

OSWEGO – Savannah Page and Kiyah Chavez insist their approach at the plate is to simply swing for contact.

But if the ball finds the bat’s sweet spot?

Yes, both Oswego softball players aren’t total strangers to watching balls fly over the fence. Chavez said she hit six homers last year, Page two as a freshman.

“Pitch is right where I want it. Put my bat out there, and take it away,” Page said. “You can feel it. I felt it on that one.”

Oswego’s bats were feeling it a whole lot Tuesday.

Page and Chavez hit two of the Panthers’ four home runs, and Oswego rode the long ball in a 13-hit attack past visiting Downers Grove South 14-8 in a game that was called because of darkness in the bottom of the fifth inning.

NIU recruit Aubriella Garza and Jaelynn Anthony also went deep for Oswego (1-1), which scored six runs in the first inning and five in the second.

Garza’s home run-hitting exploits are nothing new. She’s on pace to break Oswego’s career home run record, and has two hits this season – both for homers.

But Oswego’s depth makes its lineup lethal.

Page, Oswego’s No. 8 hitter, slugged a three-run homer to left field to cap off the six-run first started by Garza’s two-run homer. Chavez, an Iowa commit hitting seventh, hit a solo shot in the fourth after RBI singles in the first and second.

“My mindset when I’m hitting is I’m just trying to hit singles, trying to get on base. I’m not a big home run hitter,” Chavez said. “Aubriella is a demon. I’m more of a contact hitter, get on base. I’m just trying to win, to be honest.”

Oswego’s Kiyah Chavez (10) smiles after rounding third base after hitting a home run against Downers Grove South during a softball game at Oswego High School on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

The wind blowing out to left in a hitter-friendly park with two good-hitting teams made for a combustible mix.

Downers Grove South struck first on Addison Yurchak’s two-out, two-run triple in the top of the first inning. Downers Grove South leadoff hitter Grace Taylor, an Appalachian State recruit, went 3 for 3, reached base all four times and scored four times.

Ella Cushing, an Illinois commit, hit a laser of a two-run homer in the fourth.

“They’re going to D-I schools for a reason,” Downers Grove South coach Jim Cushing said. “We have a good lineup.”

The Mustangs could be in for more games like this one. They beat Sandburg 19-8 in their season opener. Cushing also pitches, but a wrist injury suffered in August will keep her out of the circle indefinitely.

“We’re just going to have to put up runs on the board,” coach Cushing said. “She really hasn’t thrown. It doesn’t affect her hitting. It’s really bizarre. She threw the last couple weeks to see how it felt. Maybe we’ll get her back pitching. I’m not sure. If not, it’s going to be a struggle. Our pitchers don’t throw hard. They’re going to get hit. We have to make the plays when we can.

“Every year is a different makeup, and that’s our makeup. We’re going to have to hit the crap out of the ball.”

Downers Grove South's Addison Yurchak (11) hits a two run triple during a softball game against Oswego at Oswego High School on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

Much like Oswego, which never looked back after its six-run first inning.

Chavez singled in the go-ahead run in the first inning and singled again in the second preceding her homer to left in the fourth.

“I try to go gap to gap – a lot of my hits are to right-center. I’m not a huge home run hitter, but I’ll hit them now and then,” Chavez said. “I’m just trying to make contact, move the runners over, anything for the team. But when stuff like that happens, you build on it.”

Oswego has something to build on after dropping its opener 6-2 to Lockport.

Rikka Ludvigson, moved up to second in the order, had three hits and reached base four times, and Maddie Hernandez had two hits with a two-run single in the second. Anthony, in addition to her two-run homer in the third, struck out seven in relief of Garza.

“We switched it up from Saturday, said let’s try something different and move Rikka up to the two spot, and she did good,” Oswego coach Paul Netzel said. “We moved Garza up – we wanted to get her more ABs – and then we started playing small ball with Marissa [Moffett], and then we got the big boppers behind them.

“I feel comfortable with what we’ve got.”