Alumni find good Fortune
Sept. 26, 2004
Urbana, Ill. - The Fighting Illini Women's softball team added another tradition to their young program Sunday afternoon when they played their first alumni game at Eichelberger Field. This is just the Illini's fifth season as a varsity sport, which graduated nine founding members a year ago. The Alumni showed they still have it in a 5-1 victory.
For some players the trip back to Champaign was a no brainer. A native of Stockton, California pitcher Sherri Taylor commented, "I wouldn't have missed this for the world. These girls are my best friends."
While the alumni might have felt at home back on the field, they faced a not so familiar Illini team. After graduating a core class of seven starters last year the only familiar face in the infield was first baseman Jenna Hall. "It was weird for me to watch the alumni infield and not be out there with them. This year I have had to step it up and take on a leadership role to help mold the infield to the high standards of Illinois softball. I am excited to take on this responsibility."
Fortune and the alumni showed some respect for Hall, who was intentionally walked with a runner at second and two outs, allowing the alumni to get out of the inning. The varsity struck first, however, with an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Angelina Mexicano reached second on an error, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Julie Balicki and scored on a sacrifice fly from Elene Planinsek.
The alumni responded with five runs in the sixth inning. Erin Jones tied the game when she roped a double to right which scored Baumgartner pinch running for Fortune, who led off the inning with a walk. Later in the inning with a runner on third Katie O'Connell singled to center field putting the alumni ahead for good 2-1 with still no one out. Lauren Gronski added to the run total with a bases loaded single, scoring Jones. Janna Sartini, the all time Illinois leader in being hit by a pitch, was hit for the second time in the game, forcing home yet another run. Baumgartner wrapped up the scoring with a blooper to right field easily scoring Erin Montgomery.
Fortune, an assistant coach at Wright State under former Illini assistant Mike Larabee allowed just four hits while striking our four in tossing the complete-game victory. Illinois freshman Claire DeVreese tossed five innings of shutout ball for the varisty, allowing just two hits.
The Illini wrap up their fall season with the last of their World Series play Monday and Tuesday at 5pm. The Orange squad is leading the series 1-0.