Luella Gesky knew her Evanston softball team might be caught a bit short as far as personnel available over spring break this week.
But the first-year Wildkit coach couldn’t have anticipated what happened Tuesday in the first inning of a Central Suburban League crossover game at Deerfield.
When catcher Maddy Managlia was injured attempting to steal second base in the first frame, the Wildkits were forced to go with just 8 players the rest of the game and fell 14-4 in a slaughter rule contest shortened to four and one-half innings.
Gesky tried to align the ETHS defense to prevent maximum damage by the Warriors, sometimes resorting to just two outfielders and sometimes using three. Deerfield capitalized by banging out 15 hits, at least five of which would have been routine plays against a normal defense.
“Luckily, I guess, I’ve played in enough slow-pitch games where someone didn’t show up and you had to work on spacing out your defense,” said Gesky after the Kits slipped to 2-2 on the season. “We can’t be too upset or frustrated by this. We stayed in the game and the girls stayed positive, that’s the most important thing. We did the best we could.”
Managlia suffered an apparent pulled quad muscle when the ETHS leadoff hitter was thrown out attempting to steal, and her status is day-to-day. One of three freshmen who are members of the varsity squad, Zoe Kurtzer, will likely be back in the varsity lineup for Thursday’s home game against Niles North. Kurtzer pitched for the JV team versus Deerfield so that squad wouldn’t be short-handed on the mound.
Deerfield tagged losing pitcher Jessica Garcia for 4 runs in the first inning and 7 more in the second and moved to 4-2 on the season. Included in the hosts’ 15-hit attack were 9 extra-base hits, including a two-run home run in the third by Emelia Karkazis.
Evanston continued its torrid hitting by clubbing 10 hits in just five innings, including a solo home run by Emma Maxwell over the center field fence in the top of the fifth. Garcia drove in a pair of runs with a triple in the third, and Gina Hopf picked up an RBI with a single.
Maxwell, Garcia, Hopf and Niya Wheeler each rapped a pair of hits for ETHS.