Softball: Jaelynn Anthony, Oswego play long ball to power past Oswego East

Anthony hits one of four Panthers’ homers, doubles in go-ahead run in 14-9 win

Oswego sophomore Jaelynn Anthony

OSWEGO – Jaelynn Anthony admitted that there is a bit of a friendly competition among Oswego’s home run hitters.

“We’re all happy if we hit a home run, but it’s friendly fire,” said Anthony, an Oswego sophomore. “It’s like ‘I’m going to hit one before you, stuff like that.’”

Homer happy all spring, the good times kept rolling Wednesday.

Anthony hit one of Oswego’s four home runs, and doubled in the go-ahead run in a five-run seventh inning. Rikka Ludvigson, Maddie Hernandez and Aubriella Garza also went deep in Oswego’s 14-9 win at Oswego East in the regular season finale for both teams.

Oswego (23-9, 13-3), a day after a 7-0 loss to Minooka that decided the Southwest Prairie West title, jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, lost that lead, but broke a 9-9 tie with its five-run seventh inning.

“It was great,” Anthony said. “We needed this before the start of the postseason, coming off a loss, playing our rivals.”

Anthony’s solo homer to left-center, which at the time broke an 8-8 tie, was her 12th of the season, tying Iowa recruit Kiyah Chavez for the team lead.

Garza’s was her ninth for an Oswego team that’s hit a staggering 44 home runs.

Yes, they dig the long ball.

“The girls know the game, they all play high-level travel ball,” Oswego coach Paul Netzel said. “It’s like we’ve assembled an All-Star team capable of hitting home runs.”

Or small ball, like Chavez’s squeeze bunt that brought in a run in the fourth.

In the seventh, with runners on first and second and one out, Anthony smoked a ball over the Oswego East center fielder, bringing in Marissa Moffett with the go-ahead run.

“Really just wanted to hit the ball, get her in,” Anthony said. “Just really trust in our work that we put in, and hopefully it comes out.”

It’s come out quite well for Anthony, now with 19 homers and counting over two high school seasons.

“Just hit the weight room and hit the ball hard,” Anthony said. “Expect nothing less. We want to hit 60 next year.”

Ludvigson, Anthony’s travel teammate with the Wasco Diamonds, isn’t known for her power but looked the part Wednesday.

She turned on an inside offering for a two-run homer down the left-field line in the first inning. Two batters later, Hernandez hit a second two-run shot in the same place. It was Ludvigson’s third homer.

“I guess I was feeling it, I don’t know,” Ludvigson said.

She was feeling it all day, apparently. Ludvigson, 4 for 5, singled in a run in the fourth, and singled in two more in the seventh before Garza’s two-run homer.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit recently,” Ludvigson said. “I thought I needed to do something.”

Oswego East (16-16, 6-10), spotting Oswego the early 5-0 lead, came back with two runs in the first and five in the second. Finley Anderson’s two-run single gave the Wolves a 6-5 lead. After Oswego swung back ahead on Anthony’s homer in the top of the sixth, the Wolves tied it 9-9 on Ryenne Sinta’s sacrifice fly that scored Katie Maday.

Maday reached base three times with two singles and a triple, scoring all three times.

“Clutch Katie is what we call her, we moved her up to second in the order about a week and a half ago,” Oswego East coach Sarah Davies said. “She is not a home run hitter but single, single, single with sped and she can do a lot of stuff, gets us going.”

But the Wolves couldn’t turn off the Oswego offense, and four errors didn’t help.

“You know they’re stacked with hitters,” Davies said. “With hitters like that you need solid defense from the get-go so they don’t get opportunities to hit the bal hard. We should have been out of that first inning.”

A day after being shut out for just the third time this season, Oswego came back with a 16-hit attack. Katie LaChappell and Garza each reached base four times.

“We were locked in today,” Netzel said. “A good comeback from last night’s tough loss to Minooka. They swung the bats and they responded.”