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Softball: Norton, Oak Forest Throw a Curve at McAuley

Oak Forest 4, Mother McAuley 0. Bengals roar behind 10-strikeout performance of 'relief specialist' Emily Norton.

Touching all the Bases: Sometimes, even the best softball teams can’t hit Emily Norton. The Oak Forest senior pitched 6.2 innings of no-hit ball on Saturday afternoon to lead the Bengals over Mother McAuley in a 4-0 home win.

Oak Forest pitcher Colleen Sherwood started the game because, according to Norton, the Mighty Macs had prepared for Norton. So, the Bengals wanted to change it up. “Me and Colleen are two different pitchers, so (Oak Forest coach Paige Stryczek) thought maybe we should try putting (Sherwood) in and maybe switch it up.”

Sherwood gave up a leadoff double to McAuley’s Meghan Bush, who then reached third on a sacrifice bunt from third baseman Mary Claire Conway. Norton, then, came in and didn’t allow another hit the rest of the game.

Oak Forest catcher Emily Naegele got the Bengals on the board with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. The ball cleared the left field wall despite strong winds sweeping toward home plate.

The Bengals scored two more runs in the fifth inning when second baseman Samantha Bal connected for a two-run single.

Patch’s MVP: Oak Forest pitcher Emily Norton (6.2 innings pitched, 10 strikeouts, 0 hits). Norton held a talented Mother McAuley team at bay all afternoon.

Oak Forest Leaders: In addition to Norton, catcher Emily Naegele (2-for-3, 2 RBIs, two-run home run). Second baseman Samantha Bal (2-for-3, 2 RBIs, 1 run scored). Shortstop Jourdan Skirha (1-for-3, 1 run scored).

Mother McAuley Leaders: Meghan Bush (1-for-3). Starting pitcher Ashley Rogers (6 innings pitched, 4 strikeouts, 4 runs).

Quotable: Oak Forest coach Paige Stryczek: “McAuley is probably the best team we’ve played all year, and that is a huge win for us. Those kids can hit the ball and they’re coached well and they play defense strong.”

Quotable II: Mother McAuley coach Colleen Kilduff: “We had one mistake at the beginning of the game, and then we didn’t hit. Norton’s a phenomenal pitcher. We put the ball in play, it was just hard to hit anything deep with this wind.”

Team Records: Oak Forest improves to 16-2, while Mother McAuley falls to 18-5.

What’s Next: Oak Forest plays at Marian Catholic on Tuesday, while Mother McAuley plays at Marist on Tuesday.

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