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Alyssa Gill

June 10, 2019

Alyssa Gill Named First Team All-American

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State softball had an excellent season and no Pioneer had a better year than sophomore Alyssa Gill, who was named a NJCAA Division II First Team All-American on Monday.

Gill became the first player in program history to be named the NJCAA National Player of the Week for her outstanding week in April and is the first First Team All-American at Prairie State under coach Frank Wilkins.

The sophomore was named First Team All-Region IV, First Team All-Region IV Tournament Team and was the only Region IV player to be named a First-Teamer.

Gill crushed 16 homers, eight of which came in the week she won the National Player of the Week and three came in one game. She hit a robust .446, drove in a team-high 52 runs and only struck out six times in 166 at bats. Gill was on base nearly 50 percent of her plate appearances and her outstanding play helped the Pioneers to within a game of the NJCAA National Tournament and a 27-20 overall record.

Gill will continue her career at Benedictine University in the fall. A full list of NJCAA Division II All-Americans is below.

NJCAA All-Americans

 

May 23, 2019

Prairie State Softball Maximizes Potential in Solid Spring

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State has a solid Spring led by Men's tennis and softball. A full synopsis is below.

Softball Synopsis

Softball made the Region IV championship game for the third consecutive year, but did an excellent job maximizing what they have finishing 27-20 on the season.

Star centerfielder Alyssa Gill became the first player in program history to be named the NJCAA National Player of the Week for her outstanding week in April. The sophomore was named First Team All-Region IV, First Team All-Region IV Tournament Team and is an All-American nominee along with only two other players from the region. Gill crushed 16 homers, eight of which came in the week she won the National Player of the Week. She hit a robust .446 and drove in a team-high 52 runs and only struck out six times in 166 at bats. Gill was on base nearly 50 percent of her plate appearances and will continue her career at Benedictine University in the fall.

While Gill was unarguably a star for coach Frank Wilkins’ bunch, many others played a role in the team’s run to the Region IV Tournament championship game. Pitcher Karly Kos threw every game down the stretch and finished with over 235 innings pitched, a lofty number for a pitcher in this era. She was MVP-like for the Pioneers and was named First Team All-Region IV Tournament team. In equally impressive fashion, catcher Juanita Carrera started every game behind the plate.

Perhaps the biggest story of the year for the Pioneers was their power. They were 10th in the country with 53 home runs. Second Team All-Region third baseman Sophia Barbosa and outfielder Monica Rangel each hit nine home runs while Melanie Shadley (Second Team All-Region IV) added eight. Rangel provided arguably the year’s biggest moment with a two-out, three-run home run on a 3-0 pitch to turn a 7-5 deficit into an 8-7 lead in the sixth inning against rival Triton in the Region IV semifinal.   

The Pioneers had seven hitters (Gill, Shadley (.385), Barbosa (.373), Carrera (.355), Kos (.327), McKenna VanDommelen (.320) and Makaela Ruske (.307)) bat over .300 and five hitters drive in over 30 runs with Rangel and Carrera driving in 44 and 41 runs, respectively.

Quinn Mattson, Kim Brown, Marina Cajas, Brittany Wetzel and Emily Whitburn return while the rest advance to the next stages of their softball careers.

Men’s Tennis Synopsis

Men’s tennis had another historic season, perhaps its greatest. After total domination of the Skyway conference, the men finished 10th, their best ever finish at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Tucson. The finish is the best ever for any team at Prairie State.

Other than their run through the national tournament, coach Brian Johnson was named Coach of the Year in Region IV and No. 1 singles player Jofre Tura was named Region IV Player of the Year after cruising through the Region IV Tournament without losing a set in both singles and doubles. His partner, Marek Slojewski, had a similar run through No. 2 singles without losing a set and made it to the round of 16 in Tucson. Renan Caleffo, Ulises Barradas, Nati Fekadu and Panashe Garah all breezed through the Region Tournament and all advanced past the first round at the national tournament. Garah made it to the quarterfinal round in both singles and doubles with his partner Fekadu.

The team climbed the national rankings all season and finished 16-6 with zero losses inside the Skyway Conference and Region IV. No Prairie State player lost any match inside the Skyway defeating all opponents 9-0 en route to another conference championship. The Pioneers played NCAA Division I opponents Chicago State and Illinois State as part of a rigorous nonconference schedule.

All of Prairie State’s players other than Tura, Fekadu and Charles Granston are eligible to return.

 

Baseball Synopsis

Baseball finished the season 2-26 with wins over Waubonsee and Moraine Valley. It was sort of a rebuilding year where coach Pascual Santiago who worked with a group of mostly freshmen. Santiago helped shortstop Jake VanderWoude and designated hitter Josh Gaines into Honorable Mention All-Conference players in the Skyway.

Santiago will return the vast majority of his team and has been working tirelessly on the recruiting trail to build the Pioneers into a contending team in the Skyway.

 

Monica Rangel

May 12, 2019

Prairie State Reaches Region IV Championship But Falls to Madison

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

FREEPORT--- Prairie State was tough as nails this season and it was never more evident than the team's comeback in the semifinal round of the Region IV Tournament. Down by five in the fifth, the Pioneers scored six unanswered runs en route to a 7-6 victory. Unfortunately, Madison was too much for Prairie State in the championship round as the Pioneers fell 7-0 in the next game.

Madison College 7, Prairie State 0

For the second time in as many days, Prairie State couldn’t solve Madison. The Pioneers gave a valiant effort but fell 7-0 in the Region IV Championship game on Sunday.

Prairie State managed only two hits in the game one each by Juanita Carrera and McKenna Van Dommelen. Karly Kos pitched a complete game for the Pioneers. 


Prairie State 8, Triton 7

Prairie State has made the Region IV Championship game for two consecutive years and it needed late inning heroics to make it happen.

Trailing 7-2 in the fifth inning, the offense ignited. Monica Rangel delivered a two-run double in the fifth to make the game 7-5 and then connected on a mammoth home run on a 3-0 pitch with runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth.

The home run capped off Prairie State’s five-run late inning comeback. The lead was enough for Kos, who picked up the win in the circle giving up just three earned runs.

The Pioneers finished with a 27-10 record and graduate sophomores Alyssa Gill, Barbosa, Makaela Ruske, Juanita Carrera, McKenna VanDommelen, Melanie Shadley, Kos and Rangel.

 

 

Mel Shadley

May 11, 2019

Prairie State Splits Games at Region IV Tournament

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

FREEPORT--- Prairie State's two games were polar opposite of one another. The Pioneers crushed the ball all game in a 12-0 thrashing of Carl Sandburg College before being shutout by Madison College 8-0 on Saturday.

Madison College 8, Prairie State 0 (6 inn.)

jWith a berth in the championship game at stake, the Madison offense was too much for the Pioneers.

The WolfPack scored once in the first, two in the third, three in the fourth and twice in the sixth to end the contest. 

The Pioneers (26-19) were unable to muster any offense as McKenna VanDommelen had the only hit. 

Prairie State 12, Carl Sandburg 2 (5 inn.)

Prairie State came out on fire in the opening round of the tournament. 

Sophomore Melanie Shadley blasted a grand slam to get things started. The Pioneers had a big lead and settled in. Quinn Mattson hit a towering home run to left which led to a five-run second inning. Prairie State scored three more times in the third inning and starting pitcher Karly Kos settled in to pick up the victory. 

It was an outstanding all around game for the Pioneers, who made several tremendous defense plays behind Kos.

Shadley finished with six RBIs and two hits. Alyssa Gill added two hits including a laser like double down the left field line. Ten different Pioneers had at least one hit in the game. Sophia Barbosa drove in a pair of runs and scored three times. 

Kos threw five solid innings giving up only four hits while striking out two. 

Prairie State will take on third-seeded Triton at 10:30 A.M. Sunday with the winner earning a game against Madison College. The Pioneers would capture the Region IV title with a win over Triton and consecutive wins over Madison. 

 

 

Director Kuchta

May 8, 2019

Prairie State Sweeps College of Lake County

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

GRAYSLAKE--- Prairie State was stymied offensively for five innings, but after that the Pioneers were totally dominant on Wednesday. Prairie State won the first game 8-1 and the second one 9-1 in five innings to advance to the Region IV Tournament on Saturday in Freeport. Prairie State's opponent is still to be determined with Black Hawk and Carl Sandburg College playing on Thursday.

Prairie State 8, College of Lake County 1

Prairie State busted out of its mini hitting slump scoring eight times in the sixth inning in the win. 

Makaela Ruske and Juanita Carrera led the team with two hits each. Seven different Pioneers drove in runs in the inning. 

While the offense scuffled early, Karly Kos did not. The sophomore dominated Lake County throwing seven innings of one run ball while striking out two.
.

Prairie State 9, College of Lake County 1

Prairie State did not wait around in the second game. The Pioneers scored one in the first, three in the second and four in the third to put the game away early. 

Alyssa Gill was outstanding for the Pioneers (25-18) with two hits including a home run and four RBIs. Emily Whitburn had a triple and two RBIs. Prairie State showed its patience at the plate taking seven walks.

Kos was magnificent again scattering six hits over five innings of work. She struck out one hitter and picked up her second victory of the day.

 

 

Team Shot

April 28, 2019

Pioneers Lose Two Tough Games to Joliet

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

JOLIET --- Prairie State was right in both games but dropped both games of a doubleheader in eight innings. The Pioneers fell 5-4 in Game 1 and 4-3 in the second game.

Joliet 5, Prairie State 4 (8 inn.)

Prairie State tied the game with two runs in the top of the seventh, but eventually lost the game in extra innings. 

Melanie Shadley walked with the bases loaded to make the game 4-3 and Alyssa Gill scored on a wild pitch with two outs to tie the game at four. 

Shadley and Sophia Barbosa homered in the game. Gill and Barbosa each had two hits. 

Karly Kos pitched a solid game in the circle throwing 7 1/3 innings giving up three earned runs while striking out two Wolves.


Joliet 4, Prairie State 3 (8 inn.)

Game 2 was eerily similar to the first game.

Prairie State (23-18) led 3-1 courtesy of home runs by Monica Rangel and McKenna Van Dommelen, but Joliet scored a pair of runs to tie the game in the fifth.

Van Dommelen and Barbosa each had three hits to lead the Pioneers. Van Dommelen also drove in a pair of runs.

Kos threw another solid game going 7 1/3 innings while surrendering three earned runs. Kos struck out five hitters. 

The Pioneers host Kankakee on Tuesday.

 

 

 

April 26, 2019

Prairie State Swings Hot Bats In Sweep of DuPage

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State's Alyssa Gill crushed a pair of homers helping the Pioneers to a doubleheader sweep of College of DuPage. Prairie State won both games by an identical 10-7 score.

Prairie State 10, College of DuPage 7

DuPage tied the game in the fifth inning, but Prairie State's Alyssa Gill crushed a grand slam in the bottom half of the inning to give the Pioneers the lead for good.

Melanie Shadley also had two hits including a home run. Gill and Quinn Mattson had two hits while Makaela Ruske led Prairie State (23-16) with three hits.

Karly Kos picked up the win pitching a complete game giving up six earned runs while striking out five.

Prairie State 10, College of DuPage 7

With the game knotted at seven in the sixth inning, Shadley delivered a two-run double which turned out to be the game-winner. Monica Rangel provided an insurance run with a RBI single.

Karly Kos did the rest in the circle working a scoreless seventh to pick up the win. She struck out four in the win.

Gill had two hits including her second homer of the day. Shadley led Prairie State with three hits while McKenna Van Dommelen had two. 

The Pioneers host Triton College on Saturday.

 

April 24, 2019

Prairie State Splits with South Suburban

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State's Karly Kos threw a complete-game shutout in the opener helping Prairie State to a win. Unfortunately, the Pioneers were unable to complete the sweep falling 14-6 in the second contest.

Prairie State 6, South Suburban 0

Sophia Barbosa continued her hot hitting belting a two-run homer in the first and that was all the offense pitcher Karly Kos would need. 

Kos scattered eight hits while striking out one. 

Barbosa, Juanita Carrera, Monica Rangel and Makaela Ruske each had two hits for the Pioneers.

Prairie State (21-16) scored four times in the third inning 

South Suburban 14, Prairie State 6

South Suburban used a five-run fourth inning to put Prairie State away.

The Pioneers continued to fight to down eight runs but couldn't dig out of the hole. 

Gill, Barbosa, Carrera, and McKenna Van Dommelen each had two hits. Juanita Carrera drove in three runs and had a double.

The Pioneers host College of DuPage on Friday.

April 23, 2019

Prairie State Wins Two Wild Ones at College of Lake County

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

GRAYSLAKE --- Prairie State knocked the cover off of the ball scoring 43 runs over two games picking up a 22-13 win and a 20-10 win on Tuesday.

Prairie State 22, Lake County 13

Prairie State went bananas scoring 14 times in the seventh inning.

Sophia Barbosa led the Pioneer offense with three home runs and eight RBIs. Alyssa Gill had five hits including two doubles and a triple. The former NJCAA National Player of the Week also drove in five runs. Monica Rangel matched Gill's RBI total with five and also had three hits. 

Juanita Carrera, Melanie Shadley, McKenna Van Dommelen, Karly Kos and Quinn Mattson each had two hits. Carrera and Shadley also homered.

Kos picked up the win giving up nine earned runs.

Prairie State 20, Lake County 10 (5 inn.)

Six in the first paved the way to an easy victory.

Gill and Quinn Mattson each had homers for Prairie State. Mattson also drove in five runs while Gill was walked the next three times she came to the plate.

Carrera added three hits and three stolen bases for the Pioneers. Barbosa went 2 for 2 with two walks and four stolen bases. Prairie State drew 11 walks in the contest. 

Gill, Barbosa, Shadley, Van Dommelen and Kos each drove in two runs. Gill stole three bases while Shadley stole two. Prairie State stole a season-high 14 bases.

Kos picked up the win in the circle giving up seven earned runs.

Alyssa Gill

April 17, 2019

Kos Outstanding as Pioneers Sweep McHenry County

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State got an outstanding effort from Karly Kos in the circle, who surrendered only one run as the Pioneers swept McHenry County on Wednesday. The Pioneers won 3-1 in the opener and 6-0 in the nightcap.

Prairie State 3, McHenry 1

Melanie Shadley delivered the big hit with a two-out, two-run double in the sixth inning.

Karly Kos did the rest in the circle throwing a five-hitter while giving up one earned run. She struck out five Scots.

Shadley accounted for the team's other run in the first inning. She doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a pair of wild pitches.

Prairie State 6, McHenry 0

The Pioneers scored twice in the first to set the tone. After an error kept the inning alive with two outs, Monica Rangel drilled a single to left plating two runs.

The Pioneers scored twice more in the fourth and sixth innings to put the game away. Alyssa Gill, Sophia Barbosa, McKenna Van Dommelen, Quinn Mattson and Kos each had two hits in the game. Gill drove in a pair of runs.

Kos threw a complete game shutout giving up only three hits while striking out one. 

The Pioneers (18-13) will host Kankakee Community College on Friday.

 

Alyssa Gill

April 17, 2019

Gill Named NJCAA Division II Player of the Week

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State softball picked up its first in-season award of the year as Alyssa Gill was named NJCAA Division II Player of the Week for her performance from April 8-14 on Wednesday.

The sophomore lit up opponents hitting .655 (19-29) with seven home runs on the week. She had two multi-homer games and finished with 20 RBIs and 18 runs scored on the week. Along with the power surge, she also added four doubles and two triples. Gill has homered in her last four games and had seven RBIs and two homers against Waubonsee.

Gill has been mashing all season long at the top of coach Frank Wilkins’ lineup hitting .471 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs on the year. She also had four home runs and eight RBIs two weeks ago.

Her outstanding week led the Prairie State (16-13) to a 7-1 record. The Pioneers swept Waubonsee, Elgin and Moraine Valley in doubleheaders and split with Triton.

Prairie State will take on Skyway Conference foe McHenry at home on Wednesday.

April 13, 2019

Gill's Monster Week Continues as Pioneers Sweep Moraine

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Few players get to experience the week that sophomore Alyssa Gill has had. In Prairie State's six home games, she has four homers, four doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs. She is hitting a robust .700 over the stretch and two of her four homers came Saturday against Moraine as Prairie State completed the sweep. The Pioneers took the first game 8-3 and went bonkers offensively in a 13-0 win in five innings in the nightcap. 

Prairie State 8, Moraine Valley 3

Gill and Melanie Shadley homered in the first inning as the Pioneers cruised to victory.

Karly Kos had three RBIs while Makaela Ruske and Shadley had two hits for Prairie State (16-13). The Pioneers were patient taking eight walks in the contest.

Kos pitched a fine game picking up the win. The sophomore surrendered three earned runs while striking out six. 

Prairie State 13, Moraine Valley 0 (5 inn.)

Gill provided the big hit in the game with a grand slam as part of a five-run second inning. The Pioneers scored three in the third and five more in the fourth to put the game away. 

Gill finished with three hits while Juanita Carrera added two hits and three RBIs.

Kos pitched another solid game throwing a complete game shutout giving up only five hits. 

The Pioneers will hit the road to play at College of Lake County on Tuesday.

April 11, 2019

Prairie State Sweeps Elgin to surpass .500 Mark

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State's McKenna Van Dommelen homered twice and Karly Kos dominated on the mound leading to a pair of Pioneer victories. Prairie State cruised to a 10-0 win in five innings and a 10-4 win in the nightcap.

Prairie State 10, Elgin 0 (5 inn.)

Prairie State used two big innings to put Elgin away. The Pioneers scored four in the first and six in the third.

Melanie Shadley hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Van Dommelen homered in the third. Karly Kos had three hits while Shadley and Makaela Ruske each had two hits for Prairie State.

Kos was dominant picking up the win. The right-hander threw a complete game shutout surrendering only three hits. She struck out five and walked only one. 

Prairie State 10, Elgin 4

The Pioneers completed their second consecutive doubleheader sweep putting another 10 runs on the board. Prairie State scored four of those in the third inning. 

Alyssa Gill had three hits including a triple and a double while Ruske and Kos each had two hits. Gill, Juanita Carrera and Monica Rangel each had two RBIS.

Kos picked up her second win of the day giving up three earned runs while striking out 11 Elgin hitters. 

The Pioneers hit the road to play a doubleheader at Triton on Friday.

 

Karly Kos

April 9, 2019

Pioneers Sweep Waubonsee

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS --- Prairie State was excellent in its home opener thanks to outstanding pitching from Karly Kos. The sophomore pitched her way to a pair of victories as the Pioneers cruised to a 3-1 win in Game 1 and a 13-7 win in the second game on Tuesday.

Prairie State 3, Waubonsee 1

Kos dominated throwing a complete game, three-hitter while surrendering only one run. She had all of her pitches working striking out eight Chiefs to pick up the victory. 

Waubonsee scored its only run in the top of the third but the Pioneers bounced back with a pair of runs in the bottom half. Alyssa Gill led off the inning with a hit and scored on a Chiefs miscue. Melanie Shadley laid down a sacrifice bunt but Waubonsee threw the ball down the right field line allowing Gill to score from first. Shadley scored on a groundout by Sophia Barbosa. 

Gill drove in an insurance run in the fourth inning on a double plating Makaela Ruske.


Prairie State 13, Waubonsee 7

Prairie State needed a little more offense in the second game but it was up to the task.

Gill continued to knock the cover off the ball with four hits including two home runs and a triple. She drove in seven runs and was a double shy of the cycle. 

Monica Rangel hit a rocket for a homerun over the left field fence. She finished with two hits and four RBIs in the game. Shadley, Carrera, Kos, and Ruske each had two hits for Prairie State (11-12).
 
Kos picked up her second win of the game throwing another complete game while giving up only two runs. 

The Pioneers will play Elgin at home on Thursday.

April 6, 2019

Prairie State Swept By South Suburban

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

PALOS HILLS --- Prairie State's winning streak ended at four games after a sweep at South Suburban on Saturday. The Pioneers fell 5-4 and 11-3 in the doubleheader.

South Suburban 5, Prairie State 4

Prairie State led 4-3 heading into the seventh but gave up three runs in the seventh to end a four-game winning streak.

South Suburbran had an inside-the-park home run to tie the game and hit a walkoff single to end it.

McKenna Van Dommelen led the Pioneers (9-12) two doubles and two RBIs. Karly Kos had two hits for Prairie State and took the loss in the circle.

South Suburbran 11, Prairie State 3

Quinn Mattson and Sophia Barbosa homered but the Pioneers didn't have enough offense to avoid a doubleheader sweep.

Mattson drove in a pair of runs for Prairie State.  

Kim Brown took the loss in the circle for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers will return home to play Waubonsee on Tuesday.

 

April 2, 2019

Prairie State Crushes 11 Homers, extends winning streak to Four

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

PALOS HILLS --- Prairie State crushed 11 homers and swept a doubleheader against Moraine Valley to extend its winning streak to four games on Wednesday.

Prairie State 15, Moraine Valley 6 (6 inn.)

Prairie State trailed 5-2 before erupting for seven runs in the fifth and six runs in the sixth to pick up the win. 

Alyssa Gill was unstoppable at the plate hitting three home runs while driving in four runs. Monica Rangel hit two homers including a grand slam and drove in seven runs. Melanie Shadley and McKenna VanDommelen each homered and had three hits.

Karly Kos picked up the win throwing a complete game surrendering two earned runs while striking out three.


Prairie State 19, Moraine Valley 4 (5 inn.)

Prairie State again used the big inning to propel itself to victory.

The Pioneers scored seven times in the third and nine times in the fourth to put the game away early.

Gill, Shadley, and Sophia Barbosa all hit homers. Gill and Makaela Ruske each had three hits. Barbosa, Juanita Carrera, Van Dommelen, Mattson and Kos each had two hits for the Pioneers (9-10). Barbosa, Carrera, VaDommelen, Kos and Gill all drove in three runs each.

Kos picked up her second win of the day in the circle throwing a complete game giving up four earned runs while striking out two.

Prairie State will play Friday at home against McHenry County.

March 28, 2019

Prairie State's Bats Erupt In Sweep of Morton

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

CICERO --- Prairie State had been in an offensive slump, but Thursday was a different story as the Pioneers exploded for 33 runs in a pair of wins over Morton. The Pioneers defeated Morton 16-1 and 17-4. Both games were only five innings.

Prairie State 16, Morton 1 (5 inn.)

Prairie scored five times in the second and six in the third to take a commanding lead.

Juanita Carrera continued her outstanding season with three hits including a pair of doubles. She drove in six runs. Alyssa Gill, Sophia Barbosa, Monica Rangel and Emily Whitburn each had two hits. Barbosa also homered in the game.

Carrera, and Melanie Shadley each stole three bases for the Pioneers.

Karly Kos was dominant in the circle picking up the win. Kos fanned 12 Morton hitters while only surrendering one earned run over her five innings of work.


Prairie State 17, Morton 4

It was more of the same for the Pioneers in the second game. 

Prairie State scored five times in the first inning and that was enough for the win.

Gill was outstanding again going 4 for 4 with a homer, three doubles and four RBIs. Barbosa had three hits including two homers, a double and four RBis. Monica Rangel homered and drove in three runs. 

McKenna Van Dommelen also hit a home run for the Pioneers (7-10).

Kos picked up her second win of the day throwing a complete game while striking out eight hitters.

Prairie State (7-10) had a season-high 12 extra base hits and will travel to the College of Dupage for a Saturday doubleheader.

March 27, 2019

Prairie State Falls to Kankakee

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

KANKAKEE --- Prairie State struggled in a doubleheader at Kankakee. The Pioneers fell 12-1 and 12-3 in two games on Wednesday.

Kankakee 12, Prairie State 3 (5 inn.)

Kankakee scored seven runs in the first and the Pioneers never recovered.

Sophia Barbosa, Juanita Carrera, McKenna Van Deommelen, Marina Cajas, Quinn Mattson and Makaela Ruske each had hits for Prairie State. 

Mattson's triple drove in a pair of runs for Prairie State.


Kankakee 12, Prairie State 1 (5 inn.)

It was another disaster of a first inning for the Pioneers. Kankakee scored 10 times in the frame to put the game away early.

Barbosa had three hits for the Pioneers (5-10).

March 15, 2019

Prairie State Falls to St. Clair, Mercer

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- Prairie State struggled on the final day of its trip to Myrtle Beach. The Pioneers were shutout 4-0 against St. Clair and then lost 15-4 to Mercer in five innings on Friday.

St. Clair 4, Prairie State 0

After defeating St. Clair on Thursday, Prairie State was unable to duplicate the task in a 4-0 loss. St. Clair scored single runs in the first, the third and two in the fourth.

Karly Kos pitched a solid game giving up only three earned runs while striking out two, but the Pioneers didn't get much offense. 

Prairie State (5-8) managed only four hits (Makaela Ruske, Melanie Shadley, Juanita Carrera, Sophia Barbosa).


Mercer 15, Prairie State 4 (5 inn.)

Big innings did Prairie State in against Mercer. Mercer scored three in the second, three in the third, and seven runs in the fourth inning to put the game away.

Prairie State did most of its damage scoring three times in the fourth inning. Shadley and McKenna VanDommelen each had two hits for the Pioneers while Alyssa Gill had a triple. VanDommelen drove in two runs for Prairie State.

Kim Brown took the loss in the circle for the Pioneers.

Prairie State will play at Triton College on Friday.

March 14, 2019

Prairie State Splits Doubleheader in Myrtle Beach

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- Prairie State finally busted out of its offensive slump in the second game of a doubleheader Thursday in Myrtle Beach. After losing the first game 10-1 to Joliet Junior College, the Pioneers bounced back with a 4-1 victory over St. Clair. 

Joliet Junior College 10, Prairie State 1 (5 inn.)

Prairie State gave up seven runs in the second inning and never recovered. The Pioneers committed five errors leading to eight unearned runs. Juanita Carrera accounted for the only two Pioneer hits and drove in the lone run.

Karly Kos took the loss in the circle for the Pioneers


Prairie State 4, St. Clair 1

Karly Kos threw an excellent game picking up the win giving up only one run on four hits while striking out three. 

The offense gave the starting pitcher enough runs to win scoring single runs in the second and third innings and two more in the seventh. Alyssa Gill jumpstarted the offense with three hits and a RBI. Monica Rangel added a pair of hits. Carerra, Rangel and Kos all drove in runs for the Pioneers (5-6).The Pioneers play a doubleheader on Friday against St. Clair and Mercer Community College. 

 

March 12, 2019

Prairie State Bats Go Cold in Myrtle Beach

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- Prairie State couldn't muster any offense losing a pair of games at Myrtle beach on Tuesday. The Pioneers managed only nine hits in two games.

Rend Lake 4, Prairie State 0 - Box Score

Prairie State starting pitcher Karly Kos kept Rend Lake off the scoreboard for three innings before giving up a single run in the fourth and three more in the fifth which accounted for all of the game's scoring.

Kos (3-1) gave up 10 hits while striking out three.

Juanita Carrera continued her solid offensive season with two hits while Sophia Barbosa, Melanie Shadley and Monica Rangel had the other three hits for Prairie State (4-4).

Louisburg 7, Prairie State 0 - Box Score

Kim Brown started her first game for Prairie State throwing a complete game as the Pioneers fell to Louisburg.

Brown (0-2) struck out three hitters while walking only one.

Alyssa Gill, Quinn Mattson, Monica Rangel and Marina Cajas had the only hits for Prairie State. The Pioneers will take on Southeastern later on today.

 

March 11, 2019

Pioneers Split Doubleheader Against Potomac State

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- The second day of Prairie State's Spring Trip produced results much like the first. The Pioneers cruised to a 5-1 win in Game 1 before falling 11-0 to Potomac State in the second game on Monday.

Prairie State 5, Potomac State 1 - Box Score

Pioneer starting pitcher Karly Kos gave up a run in the first but nothing else and picked up her third win in the circle this season.

She pitched a complete game giving up only one earned run on five hits while striking out five.

Prairie State's offense picked up scoring four times in the fifth inning. Sophia Barbosa delivered the big hit with a two-run double. Juanita Carrera, Quinn Mattson and Makaela Ruske drove in the other three Pioneer runs.

Mattson, Ruske, and Melanie Shadley each had two hits for Prairie State (4-2).

Potomac State 11, Prairie State 0 - Box Score

Not much went well for Prairie State in the second game. 

The Pioneers managed only five hits. Alyssa Gill, McKenna VanDommelen, Marina Cajas, Kos and Mattson all recorded one hit.   

Ruske took the loss in the circle for Prairie State.

Prairie State continues its busy road trip tomorrow with three games beginning at 9:30 A.M. against Rend Lake. It will play Louisburg at 11:30 A.M. and finish the day with a 5:30 P.M. game against Southeastern Community College. 

 

March 10, 2019

Pioneers Split Doubleheader Against Genesee

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- Prairie State opened up its Spring Trip to North Myrtle Beach with a doubleheader split against Genesee Community College. The Pioneers took the first game 5-3 and dropped the second one 6-5 on Sunday afternoon.

Prairie State 5, Genesee 3

The Pioneers put the game away early scoring five times in the first three innings and pitcher Karly Kos did the rest in the circle.

Juanita Carrera went 2 for 3 with a triple and drove in two runs. Alyssa Gill had two hits and Monica Rangel also had two hits. 

Kos (2-0) through a complete game surrendering three earned runs on seven hits. She fanned seven hitters and picked up the victory.

Genesee 6, Prairie State 5

The Pioneers led 5-1 but gave up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning falling 6-5 in the second game of the doubleheader.

McKenna VanDommelen and Makaela Ruske each had two hits for the Pioneers (3-1). Carrera and Kos each drove in two runs. 

Ruske pitched 3.1 innings giving up five earned runs. Kim Brown (0-1) took the loss going 2.2 innings giving up only one earned run on one hit.  

The Pioneers will continue their trip with a doubleheader against Potomac State University at 9:30 A.M. on Monday.

 

March 2, 2019

Pioneers Open Season with Two Wins at Rosemont Dome

By Allan Scarabello – Coordinator of Sports Information

ROSEMONT, Ill. --- Prairie State opened its season on a good note with a pair of wins over Elgin and McHenry County at the Rosemont Dome

The Pioneers defeated Elgin 10-0 in five innings and McHenry County 7-6 in nine innings.

Prairie State 10, Elgin 0 (5 inn.)

The Pioneers put the game away early scoring five times in the first inning and pitcher Makaela Ruske did the rest in the circle.

Alyssa Gill sparked the offense with three hits while Juanita Carrera and Melanie Shadley each had two hits. Carrera and Shadley each drove in three runs while McKenna VanDommelendrove in two. Emily Whitburn also had two hits for the Pioneers.

Ruske (1-0) pitched five innings giving up no earned runs while striking out three.

Prairie State 7, McHenry County 6 (9 inn.)

The Pioneers led 6-2 headed to the seventh, gave up the lead, but eventually pulled out the win in the ninth inning courtesy of a RBI-single from Shadley

Shadley led the offense with four hits while Gill and uinn Mattson each had three. Sophia Barbosa added two hits. Shadley and Carrera each drove in two runs.

Karly Kos (1-0) pitched a complete game striking out 11 Scots. She gave up six earned runs and walked two. 

The Pioneers will travel to North Myrtle Beach, S.C. to play Genesee Community College on March 10.

 

May 2, 2018

20th-Ranked Pioneers Dispatch CLC in Quarterfinal Triumph

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. --- No matter how successful of a regular season that a team may have, postseason play is always a completely different animal.

One bad afternoon and it could all be over.

The Prairie State College softball team knew this full-well and certainly didn’t disappoint, making quick work of Lake County and climbing the first rung of the ladder on the quest to claiming the program’s first-ever NJCAA Region IV championship.

The top-seeded Pioneers, who also entered the week as the nation’s 20th-ranked team, dispatched Lake County 9-1, and 11-1 in a best-of-three quarterfinal series Wednesday at the Pioneer Sports and Recreation Park.

The victory pushes the Pioneers into the tournament’s semifinal round Saturday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent at Highland Community College in Freeport. 

In addition to moving on in the playoffs, Wednesday’s victory also elevated PSC (40-7) to its first 40-win season in program history.

The two wins also capped off an incredible home campaign as the Pioneers finished the season with a 20-2 mark on their own diamond.

Both contests were five-inning affairs.

Six Pioneers recorded multiple-hit efforts in Game 1 as sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.), sophomore center fielder Hayley Fletcher (Marist H.S.) and sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T.F. South H.S.) all went 2-for-4 with a run.  Fletcher and Harrison also both drove in a run.

Hero, a First-Team All-Region IV selection and All-American nominee, currently has her name plastered across the national leader boards.  PSC’s offensive catalyst leads the country with 93 hits.  She is also second in stolen bases (67), fourth in triples (9) and seventh in batting average (.531).

An 0-for-2 showing for Hero in Game 2 also snapped an 18-game hitting streak.  She has hit safely in 43 of PSC’s 47 games thus far.

Freshman catcher Juanita Carrera (Rich South H.S.) also went 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI while freshman second baseman McKenna VanDommelen (Bloom Trail H.S.) also went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

In the circle, PSC picked up another outstanding effort from sophomore pitcher Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.).  Kessler, also an All-American nominee, pushed her record to 22-3 with the Game 1 win, allowing one unearned run on one hit while walking two and striking out four.

Kessler’s 22 wins rank fifth on the NJCAA rankings and her 19 complete-games are ninth.

Game 2 saw Harrison deliver a 1-for-2, three-RBI, two-run outing.

Harrison has now driven in 70 runs on the campaign, good for second in the nation.  She resides in the top slot of the leaderboard in that category amongst all Region IV hitters as well.

Kessler delivered with her bat in the nightcap as well, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run.

Freshman starting pitcher Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.) also aided her own cause, going 3-for-3 with a run and RBI.

Koss was also up to the task from the circle, working all five frames en route to her 15th win of the season.  She allowed just four scattered hits while walking none and punching out five.  She didn't allow a hit until the fourth and at one point covering the second and third frames, fanned four consecutive hitters.

Freshman right fielder Salem Garza (Beecher H.S.), (2-for-2, 2 runs, 2 RBI) and freshman second baseman Makaela Ruske (Bloom Trail H.S.) also went 2-for-3.

 

May 1, 2018

No.20 Pioneers Enter Region IV Tournament as Top Seed, Complete Regular Season Following Sweep of DuPage

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. --- The most successful regular season in Prairie State College softball history came to a close Saturday afternoon, courtesy of a doubleheader sweep of DuPage.

Now the really hard work begins.

The Pioneers will enter the NJCAA Region IV Tournament Wednesday with an overall record of 38-7 and as the No. 1 seed for the first time in program history.

The Pioneers also made school history Tuesday as PSC cracked the national leader board for the first time ever, entering the week as the nation’s 20th ranked team.

PSC will take on Lake County Wednesday in a best of three quarterfinal series at the Pioneer Sports and Recreation Park (1 p.m.).

Prairie State put a final stamp on its impressive regular season following a 6-4 and 4-2 doubleheader sweep of the Chaparrals Saturday.

The Pioneers own the nation’s top team batting average at .437 and are considered amongst the top offenses in America.

If PSC can push past the Lancers Wednesday, the Pioneers will travel to Freeport for the tournament semifinals and finals on Saturday and Sunday.

 

April 25, 2018

Pioneers Finish Skyway Slate Unblemished, Claim Second League Crown in School History

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

Hayley Fletcher hits vs. MoraineCHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. --- Winning a conference championship is of course a special accomplishment.  But, running the table through the entire league?  At Prairie State College, that is a feat of historic proportions.

The PSC softball team completed the first undefeated run through Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference play by a Prairie State women’s athletic team Wednesday, following a doubleheader sweep of league archrival Moraine Valley at the Pioneer Sports and Recreation Park.

The Pioneers downed the Cyclones by final counts of 7-3 and 7-1.

The triumphs extended head coach Frank Wilkins’ club’s school-record, single-season win total to 35 against just six setbacks.  PSC closed the Skyway schedule at 12-0.

Karly Kos pitch vs. MoraineThe conference softball title is PSC’s second in school history.  Prairie State earned its first Skyway crown in 2016.

The Pioneers picked up another stellar showing from sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.) who swung her way to a 5-for-8, five-RBI, three-run, five-stolen base, two-triple afternoon.

Freshman right fielder Salem Garza (Beecher H.S.) went 4-for-8 as well.

The Pioneers also picked up strong pitching efforts in both tilts as well as sophomore Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.) and freshman Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.) both delivered strong outings.

Kessler went the distance in Game 1, allowing three runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out seven.

Kos also went seven innings in the nightcap, allowing a run on five scattered hits while issuing one free pass and fanning six.

The Pioneers jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead in the opener thanks in part to a booming two-run home run off the bat of sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T. F. South H.S.).

Prairie State put the nightcap to bed for good thanks in part to a five-run fourth, highlighted by a three-run triple off the bat of Hero, an RBI safety by sophomore center fielder Hayley Fletcher (Marist H.S.) and run-scoring base hit freshman second baseman Makaela Ruske (Bloom Trail H.S.).

The Pioneers will see action next on Friday when they travel to DuPage for a 3 p.m. first pitch.

 

April 12, 2018

Offense Leads the Charge as Pioneers Make Quick Work of Oakton

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

McKenna-VanDommelen watches flight of home run vs. OaktonCHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. --- The nation’s top offensive team continued its torrid start to the 2018 campaign Thursday, following a pair of five-inning victories over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Oakton at the Pioneer Sports and Recreation Park.

PSC downed the Owls by final counts of 19-1 and 18-0.

The triumphs pushed the Pioneers’ overall record to a stellar 26-5 with a 6-0 mark in league play.

Prairie State pounded out 45 hits in the two contests, helping to boost its NJCAA-best team batting average to .455.

In all, the Pioneers blasted four home runs in the twin bill as sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T.F. South H.S.), sophomore pitcher/designated player Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.) and freshman second baseman McKenna VanDommelen (Bloom Trail H.S.) all hit long balls.

Hayley Fletcher Hitting vs. OaktonHarrison, who leads the club with six bombs, went deep twice in the double dip.

A pair of Pioneers collected three-hit days in Game 1 as sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.) went 3-for-4 with four stolen bases in the opener.

Sophomore center fielder Hayley Fletcher (Marist H.S.) went 3-for-3 with a trio of runs and two stolen bases.

Freshman second baseman Makaela Ruske (Bloom Trail H.S.) set the pace in Game 2, swinging her way to a 4-for-4, 2 run showing.

Freshman pitcher Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.), freshman catcher Juanita Carrera (Rich South H.S.), Fletcher, and freshman right fielder/pitcher Salem Garza (Beecher H.S.) all collected three hits in the nightcap.

The Pioneers will be back in action again on Saturday when they host Rock Valley at noon.

 

April 10, 2018

Wilkins Earns 100th Victory at PSC Following Doubleheader Sweep of Lake County

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

Head Coach Frank WilkinsCHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. --- Prior to the 2018 season, Prairie State College head softball coach Frank Wilkins decided that his team needed to maximize its offensive capabilities by adopting an approach to hitting that has proved successful in Major League Baseball over recent seasons.

That decision has benefited the Pioneers tenfold, if not more.

When the dust had settled Tuesday afternoon at the Pioneer Sports and Recreation Park, Wilkins’ team had improved to 23-4 overall and 4-0 in Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference play, following a pair of five-inning victories over Lake County.

Thanks in part to a 38-hit attack over the course of the two games, PSC now owns the nation’s top team batting average at .439. 

Sidney Hero lead off third“Before our season started, I knew we had some strong hitting talent,” Wilkins said.  “Over the years, I’ve always had solid hitting teams, but over the last five years, the style of hitting in softball has changed big time, a lot like baseball with launch angles and such.  So, I sat down and talked with one of the top professional softball hitters and instructors in the midwest, Rachel Folden.  We then changed our style of hitting.

“Over the past five months of practices, and thousands of swings, we are currently crushing the ball, with the intent of driving the ball over the outfielder's heads, and not just a couple of hitters, but all of them.  That’s why we’re the number one hitting team in the country right now.”

Lost in the excitement of the two victories was the fact that Wilkins earned his 100th career victory at PSC following the Game 1 triumph.  The longtime skipper of Saint Josephs College (Ind.) is now just five wins shy of equaling former PSC head coach Marty Mears’ all-time win total of 106.

In all, Wilkins has compiled an overall record of 101-60 in just over three seasons at Prairie State.  He now has 418 career wins at the collegiate level.

“I’ve really been blessed with a great group of sophomores that want to win every game,” Wilkins said.  "That, coupled with the great job our pitchers have done this year, is why I was able to secure my 100th win at Prairie State today.”

The Pioneers posted an eight-run first inning to put Game 1 to bed early.

The Pioneers’ cause was aided immensely by the strong performance on both sides of the ball delivered by sophomore pitcher Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.). 

Kessler, PSC’s ace in the circle and cleanup hitter in the lineup, swung her way to a 4-for-4 afternoon at the plate with three runs and an RBI.

Kessler also worked all five of the contest’s frames, allowing the one run on six scattered hits while walking one and striking out eight.

PSC’s ace bumped her season record to 13-2 with her 13th complete game of the slate.  Her 1.30 earned run average is good for eighth on the national charts.

Sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.), also turned in another stellar effort, going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, runs, stolen bases and an RBI.

PSC’s leadoff hitter, who saw her hitting streak extended to nine games, thanks to a 3-for-3 showing in the nightcap, currently sits third on the nation’s stolen base chart with 40.  She also owns the country’s 15th-highest batting average at .546.

In all, seven Pioneers recorded multiple-hit games in the opener as freshman second baseman McKenna VanDommelen (Bloom Trial H.S.), (3-for-3, 3 runs, 3 RBI), freshman catcher Juanita Carrera (Rich South H.S.), (3-for-3, 3 runs, 2 RBI),  freshman right fielder Salem Garza (Beecher H.S.), (2-for-2, 2 RBI, run), sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T.F. South H.S.), (2-for-4, 2 RBI, run) and sophomore center fielder Hayley Fletcher (Marist H.S.), (2-for-4, run) all achieved the feat.

Garza added a 3-for-3, two-RBI, two-run day to her ledger in Game 2.

Harrison (2-for-4, RBI), Kessler (2-for-3, 2 runs), freshman pitcher Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.), (2-for-3, RBI, 2 runs) and freshman second baseman Makaela Ruske (Bloom Trail H.S.), (2-for-3, 2 RBI, run) all swung hot bats in the nightcap.

Kos turned in her own strong effort from the circle, allowing a run on four hits en route to her ninth win of the campaign against just two losses.  PSC’s No. 2 hurler refused to walk a batter while fanning three.

The Pioneers will see action next on Wednesday when they travel to River Grove for a road date with NJCAA Region IV foe Triton.

 

April 8, 2018

Pioneers Earn Split With Joliet

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

karly Kos PitchCHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. --- Had Joliet starting pitcher Rachel Sangston not made a tremendous play to snare a head-high bullet through the box off the bat of Prairie State College freshman Megan Garrity (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.) in the seventh inning of the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, the Pioneers would have had themselves a sweep of the Wolves.

Instead, PSC had to settle for a split, dropping the opener 5-4 in eight frames before erupting for a 12-2, five-inning triumph in the nightcap.

The Pioneers now own a 21-4 record, leaving head coach Frank Wilkins one win shy of his 100th victory as PSC skipper.

Wilkins gave the ball to one of America’s top starting pitchers for Game 1 in sophomore Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.), (12-2).  And while Kessler didn’t turn in an effort as dominant as her Saturday performance, it was still one strong enough to win.

PSC’s ace worked the full eight innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits while walking one and striking out five.

Joliet grabbed hold of a 2-0 first-inning lead.Sydney Harrison HR Celebration

The Pioneers took a run back in the third, when freshman catcher Juanita Carrera (Rich South H.S.) scored on a base hit to center by sophomore center fielder Hayley Fletcher (Marist H.S.).

Joliet led 4-1 heading into the home half of the seventh before the Pioneers went to work, putting the first three hitters of the inning on base.

A Fletcher RBI groundout to first, plated Carrera prior to a line drive, two-run triple into the right field corner from sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T.F. South H.S.), that tied the contest at four.

Harrison was left stranded at third when Garrity barreled up a Sangston fastball, resulting in the Joliet hurler’s sparkling snag.

The Wolves plated a run in the eighth, courtesy of the international tie-breaker as PSC was unable to counter.

Harrison, who went 3-for-4 in Game 1, got the Pioneers’ high-octane offense rolling in the bottom of the first in Game 2, launching a three-run home run to right for a 3-0 lead.

PSC recorded 14 hits in the nightcap.

Three Pioneers picked up multiple-hit efforts in Game 2 as sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.) led the charge, posting a 4-for-4, three-run, three-stolen base tilt.

Freshman right fielder Salem Garza (Beecher H.S.) swung her way to a 3-for-3, three-RBI afternoon. 

Freshman starting pitcher Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.), helped herself by delivering a 2-for-3 contest with three RBI and a pair of runs.

Kos (8-2) was also strong from inside the circle, working all five frames while allowing two runs on six scattered hits with no walks and a punchout.

The Pioneers will take the field next on Tuesday when they face Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference counterpart Lake County at the Pioneer Sports and Recreation Park.

 

April 7, 2018

Stellar Pitching, Offensive Explosion Highlights Twin Bill Sweep of Harper

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

McKenna VanDommelan Home RunCHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. --- One would have thought it was a hot mid-July afternoon as opposed to a bone-chilling April one the way that the Prairie State College softball team swung the bats Saturday.

PSC’s incredible 2018 campaign rolled on, courtesy of 18-0 and 5-2 triumphs over NJCAA Region IV counterpart Harper at a frigid Pioneer Sports and Recreation Park.

With the doubleheader sweep, the Pioneers boosted their season record to 20-3, the best start in program history.

Sophomore pitcher Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.) took the ball in Game 1 and didn’t disappoint, going the distance in the contest’s five frames while dominating from the first pitch.  Kessler allowed just a fourth-inning single in spinning her sixth shutout of the season, good for second on the national charts.

PSC’s hard-throwing ace refused to walk a batter while fanning three. Sarah Kessle rPitch

Saturday’s triumph moved Kessler’s record to 12-1 and dropped her earned run average to a paltry 1.09, which currently sits her seventh on the national ledger.  Her 78 punchouts are good for 11th.

Kessler also starred at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and runs.

In all, six Pioneers recorded multiple-hit contests in the opener.

Freshman first baseman McKenna VanDommelen (Bloom Trail H.S.) led the offensive charge, collecting three hits in a 3-for-3, four-RBI, two-run tilt.  The crown jewel of VanDommelen’s afternoon was a second-inning three-run home run.

PSC freshman catcher Juanita Carrera (Rich South H.S.) also registered three hits while scoring three runs.

Sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.), (2-for-3, run, 2 stolen bases), sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T.F. South H.S.), (2-for-2, RBI, walk) and freshman right fielder Salem Garza (Beecher H.S.), (2-for-3, 2 runs, walk) all achieved the feat.

Prairie State used a seven-run opening frame to put the game out of reach early.

In all, PSC collected 19 hits without a single batter recording a strikeout.

The Pioneers are currently fourth in the nation in hitting with a .422 team batting average.

Head coach Frank Wilkins gave the ball to freshman pitcher Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.) in the nightcap and she nearly matched Kessler’s effort.

The 5-foot-8 Kos also went the distance, earning her seventh win of the slate, following a six-hit, one-walk, six-strikeout effort.  Kos carried a no-hit bid into the fifth, sitting down the first 12 hitters she faced before surrendering a leadoff single to start the fifth.

The Pioneers’ bats cooled off in Game 2 as PSC scratched out just five hits.

Prairie State played “small ball” early on, grabbing a 1-0 first-inning lead when Hero, who had reached via a leadoff single to left, advanced to third courtesy of a pair of stolen bases before scampering home on a wild pitch.

Hero plated PSC’s second tally in the third as well, following a sharp base hit to left off the bat of sophomore center fielder Hayley Fletcher (Marist H.S.).

The Pioneers put the game out of reach in the fifth, crossing the plate three times, courtesy of a two-run double to left center off the bat of Garza and RBI single to right from freshman second baseman Makaela Ruske (Bloom Trial H.S.).

PSC will see action next on Sunday when they square off against NJCAA Region IV foe Joliet in a 1 p.m. twin bill.

 

March 22, 2018

Pioneers Move to 13-2 Following Twin Bill Sweep of Harper

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

Sydney Harrison HittingPALATINE, Ill. --- The Prairie State College softball team’s incredible start to the 2018 season continued to roll on Thursday afternoon as the Pioneers claimed both ends of an NJCAA Region IV nonconference doubleheader with Harper.

The Pioneers knocked off the Hawks 11-0 and 12-2.

With the wins, PSC improved its overall record to an outstanding 13-2.

The Pioneers were paced in the opener by a trio of three-hit tilts as sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T.F. South H.S.) turned in a 3-for-3, two-RBI, three-run outing.

Sophomore pitcher Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.), (3-for-4, RBI, run) and sophomore left fielder Alyssa Klyczek (Bloom Trail H.S.), (3-for-4, run) all achieved the feat.

PSC used a four-run fourth inning to break the game wide open courtesy of a two-run double off the bat of freshman first baseman Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.).

A Harrison two-run home run in the seventh helped seal a six-run frame.

Kessler was dominant in the circle, going the distance while tossing a one-hit shutout.  She walked just one while striking out nine.

In the nightcap, sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.) led the way with a 4-for-4, four-RBI contest which included a trio of runs and stolen bases.

Freshman catcher Juanita Carrera (Rich South H.S.) delivered a 3-for-3, two-run effort, which included an RBI.

Kos took the ball in Game 2 and slung all five frames, surrendering a pair of runs on five scattered hits while walking one and punching out seven.

A two-run single by Hero and two-tally triple from Harrison helped ignite a four-run second.

Kos’ two-run single and Hero’s RBI safety off the bats of Hero, coupled with a run-scoring single by Harrison resulted in a four-run fourth.

PSC pushed across two additional tallies in the fifth, courtesy of run-scoring singles by Hero and Carrera.

 

March 21, 2018

All-Around Effort Propels Pioneers to Program’s First Ever Win Over Kankakee

By Chris Kuchta – Coordinator of Sports Information

PSC Softball Team
KANKAKEE, Ill. –
There is one program that the Prairie State College softball team has been chasing ever since its inception and to no avail: Kankakee.

The Cavaliers had never fallen in regular season play to the Pioneers in the nearly two decades that PSC has fielded a team.

That all changed Wednesday.

Thanks in part to a stellar pitching effort from freshman Karly Kos (Hillcrest H.S.) and a 14-hit attack, the Pioneers took down their I-57 rivals for the first time ever in regular season play, 7-2 in the nightcap of an NJCAA Region IV doubleheader.

With the win, Prairie State pushed its season record to a stellar 11-2.

PSC dropped the opener of the twin bill 4-0.

While the Pioneers had garnered wins over Kankakee in the exhibition fall season in years past, PSC head coach Frank Wilkins knows that attaining his program’s first regular-season victory ever against the gold standard of Region IV softball is a monumental achievement and a major step in solidifying PSC as a softball force to be reckoned with.

“Beating a team like Kankakee is just another stepping stone to where we want to be as a program,” Wilkins said. “We want to be one of the top teams in the region as well as one of the top teams in the country.  Kankakee has represented that for a long time.  We want to get where they are and where they have been.  Beating them for the first time when it counts is a step toward that.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves though.  Beating them is great, but we have 40 games to still play.  Let’s see where we end up.”

After enduring a rough first inning in Game 2, Kos settled in and handled the Cavalier hitters the rest of the way.

After allowing the first five Kankakee batters to reach base and surrendering a pair of runs, Kos went on to retire the next nine straight and 19-out-of the next 20.

In all, the 5-foot-8 Kos went the distance, allowing just the two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out five.

Five Pioneer hitters collected two-hit outings in Game 2 as sophomore shortstop Sidney Hero (Griffith H.S., Ind.), (2-for4, triple, stolen base, run), sophomore center fielder Hayley Fletcher (Marist H.S.), (2-for-3, double, run, stolen base), sophomore third baseman Sydney Harrison (T.F. South H.S.), (2-for-3, 2 runs, walk, stolen base), sophomore designated player Sarah Kessler (T.F. South H.S.), (2-for-4, 2 RBI, run) and Kos (2-for-3, RBI, walk) all achieved the feat.

A Kos first-inning RBI safety gave PSC a short-lived 1-0 lead.

A long second-inning solo home run off the bat of freshman second baseman Makaela Ruske (Bloom Trial H.S.) tied the score at two.

PSC plated a pair of tallies in the third courtesy of a two-out, two-run single from freshman right fielder Salem Garza (Beecher H.S.).

An RBI double by Fletcher and two-run, two-bagger from Kessler in the fourth capped a three-run frame, effectively putting the contest out of reach.

Kessler went to the circle in Game 1 and took the hard-luck loss, working six innings, allowing three earned runs on eight scattered hits while walking one and fanning eight.

The 11-2 start to the campaign is one of Wilkins’ best in over 20 years of collegiate softball.

“This is the best team at this level that I’ve had,” Wilkins said. “We can compete with the best teams out there, no question.”

Aside from a roster chocked full of talented players, the Pioneers’ skipper attributes a portion of his team’s success to a new offensive approach.

“We’ve adjusted our hitting style to 2018 softball,” Wilkins said. “We’re going to the plate with the mindset that we’re going to drive the softball with authority.  Hit the softball in the air and into the gaps.  Much like the approach that Major League Baseball has adopted the last few years.”

PSC will see action next on Thursday when it travels to Plainfield for a road date with Harper.