Softball: Usher, Nazareth power way to third straight regional crown
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:47AM
Nazareth softball coach Kristen Stojetz knows exactly what kind of an impact Cat Usher has made as a Roadrunner.
But the four-year varsity player still managed to really impress her coach at the IHSA Class 3A Nazareth Regional in LaGrange Park. All Usher did was hit three home runs and drive in nine runs in two games, helping Nazareth capture its third straight regional championship.
“Oh my gosh, she’s crushing the ball,” Stojetz said. “She is a key component for us. She has the experience and leadership, and helps us with pitching as well. She’s been pretty solid hitting all year, but she’s really heating up.”
Usher now has six home runs this season.
In the regional final, Nazareth beat Evergreen Park 10-0 in five innings on Saturday. It was the third straight 10-0 victory for the Roadrunners, who beat Morgan Park in five innings in the regional semifinal on May 23.
“I think it says a lot about the program,” Stojetz said. “Regional championships are nice recognition, and a piece of hardware to contribute to the school. They are not an easy feat. To do it three years in a row is quite an accomplishment. It feels good, and is not something we take for granted.”
Holly Haberkorn was the winning pitcher against Evergreen Park, while Usher had four RBI to go with the home run, Kate Vondrak hit a home run and had two RBI, and Katherine Gutierrez and Jess Sauzameda each contributed an RBI.
“We have been playing well,” Stojetz said. “The girls did exactly what we asked them to do; they came out hungry and focused. We need to hit the ball and stay consistent. We’ve been getting strong pitching and offense. I’m very confident in this team. We’re headed in the right direction and hopefully we can continue to produce.”
Usher pitched a one-hit shutout, striking out 12, to earn the victory against Morgan Park. She added two homers and five RBI as a hitter. Haberkorn sealed the victory with a three-run homer in the fifth inning.
The Roadrunners (19-16), seeded No. 4 in the Glenbard South Sectional, were set to face the top-seeded hosts on Wednesday.