Softball: Sofia Dziuba’s homer highlights Minooka’s win over Oswego

Taylor Macklin fires 5-hit shutout in victory

Minooka’s Sofia Dziuba scores on a wild pitch against Oswego on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 in Minooka.

MINOOKA – It doesn’t seem to matter what position in the Minooka batting order is up to bat. The Indians are dangerous from top to bottom.

Case in point, Wednesday’s 7-0 Southwest Prairie Conference win over Oswego.

Sofia Dziuba, the eighth hitter in the lineup, went 3 for 3 with a solo home run and scored twice. Her homer was the third of the game for Minooka (11-1-1, 5-0), which picked up its 10th straight win.

“Batting eighth is kind of like second cleanup,” Dziuba said. “I know I am going to get up with people on base. Then, when I get up, I just want to do what is the best for my team. If there’s one or two runners on base, it’s fun to drive them in.

“The good thing about this team is that if someone is having a bad day, the rest of the team is there to pick them up. We are all pretty positive, and we are all very confident in each other.”

Minooka pitcher Taylor Mackin was just as good as the offense, firing a five-hitter with seven strikeouts. She got out of a jam in the top of the first, stranding two runners, before her teammates gave her all the support she needed.

Oswego’s Jaelynn Anthony delivers a pitch against Minooka on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 in Minooka.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Gracie Anderson and Madison Kelly slugged back-to-back solo homers for a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, Dziuba hit a one-out single and went to second on a single by Payton Psinas. A fly to right by Mackin sent Dziuba to third, and she scored on a wild pitch for a 3-0 lead.

Mackin continued to cruise, retiring 15 of 17 from the second through sixth innings. The Panthers (8-6, 2-2) were able to get two runners on in the top of the second on a single by Kayla Maruna and a walk by Kiyah Chavez, but Mackin retired the next hitter, then set Oswego down 1-2-3 in the next three innings.

“It was a little tough pitching into this wind,” Mackin said of the strong wind blowing out to right. “There were a couple of times it felt like I was pitching into a wall. My curveball was doing well all game. Me and [catcher] Gracie [Anderson] have been working on hitting different locations with it, and it worked well today.

“In our lineup, we can count on everyone. It seems like I am always pitching with a lead, and that makes it a lot easier. I know that we are going to score.”

Minooka’s Taylor Mackin delivers a pitch against Oswego on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 in Minooka.

The Indians gave her insurance in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Dziuba homered to right for a 4-0 lead. An out later, Mackin singled to left and Anderson walked. A single by Kelly (2 for 4, two RBIs) drove home courtesy runner Kendall Adelmann to put Minooka up 5-0. Karli McMillin narrowly missed hitting Minooka’s fourth homer, but her drive to center went off the top of the fence to bring home courtesy runner Paige Borton and McMillin for a 7-0 lead.

Oswego got singles from losing pitcher Jaelynn Anthony and Kaylee LaChappell, but Mackin struck out the next three batters to end the game.

“Taylor did a great job,” Minooka coach Mark Brown said. “She isn’t overpowering, but she moves the ball around well. If she misses, she misses off the plate so the hitter can’t get a good swing on it. She rarely puts it in a good place for someone to hit it hard. And pitching with the lead allows her to attack the strike zone.

“We left some runs out there, but this team is just relentless. We have quality at-bat after quality at-bat. I keep thinking about moving a few people up or down in the order, but it it’s not broken, why fix it?”

Despite the loss, Oswego coach Paul Netzel was pleased with how his team played.

“It kind of got away from us at the end, but for most of the game we were right in it with them,” Netzel said. “We had heard that Minooka is the real deal, and we saw it for ourselves today. They are a very good club. We had a couple runners on a couple of times, but we just didn’t get that hit we needed to break the ice.”