ELGIN – Larkin’s Audriana Escobar “took one for the team” at the most opportune time in Tuesday’s Upstate Eight Conference extra-inning game between the host Royals and Glenbard South.
The compliment is given to a player who is awarded first base after being hit by a pitched ball.
The left fielder came to plate in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, one out and the game tied. Escobar was awarded first base after the first pitch of the at-bat hit her in the leg which also forced in Julissa Aguinaga with the winning run for a 5-4 come-from-behind victory.
“I was ready to drive the ball but then immediately it hit my leg,” said Escobar.
After the Royals jumped out a 2-1 lead in the first inning on starting pitcher Chelsea Herrick’s single down the right field line that scored Escobar and Kaitlyn Neubert, Glenbard South rallied to tie the game in the top of the second. Kaylee Full’s single to center scored Lauren Atkinson, who also scored the team’s run in the first.
Glenbard South (10-7, 7-5) went ahead 4-2 in the next inning. After Raiders starting pitcher Hannah Rafferty-Flatter popped out, Grace Zeman drew a base-on-balls. Julia Galvin reached base on an infield error. Both scored when Larkin’s infield could not handle Madison Blazek’s grounder.
Herrick, who pitched all eight innings for the win, kept the Raiders in check the rest of the way. The right-handed senior got out jams in the fifth and sixth innings and retired the side in order in both the seventh and eighth innings.
“Chelsea pitched an amazing game,” Larkin coach Anne Vogt said. “Out of the eight innings, five of them ended with either a big strikeout or a big play.”
“It was the first hot day of the year and I think both teams did a nice job of sustaining it. It was a long game. I think each team had their opportunities,” Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda said. “We didn’t hit our pitches; we fished a little bit. Chelsea did a nice job. Last time we saw her, we had 10 or 12 hits. A totally different game.”
After the first inning, Rafferty-Flatter settled down and allowed only two base runners in the next three frames. The junior right-hander, who also went the distance, struck out 13 batters.
Larkin (13-6, 9-5) took full advantage of the opportunities it had to get back in the game.
The Royals got one run back in the fifth. Alanis Ortega opened the frame with a walk, advanced to second on Escobar’s ground out, and scored on Neubert’s single up the middle.
The Royals tied the game in the sixth. Aguinaga opened the inning with a walk and advanced all the way to third when Glenbard South’s infield could not handle Sophia Forsberg’s bunt. Aguinaga scored on a pass ball during Camila Alonzo’s at-bat.
“We hung in there. We didn’t hit great, but we played good defense,” Vogt said. “We showed a little grit there. We just kept coming back.”