Saturday, July 16, 2011
The Diane Spiewak Memorial Softball Tournament provides an opportunity for girls to play softball during the summer.
Diane Spiewak was a go-getter—someone dedicated to prompting change when not satisfied with the status quo. So when Spiewak and her family moved to the Oak Forest area back in the 1980s and found a lack of playing opportunities for her softball-loving daughter, she set out to change things. Diane went to work trying to better organize the Oak Forest Park District rec league that played only on Tuesday mornings and combined all the age groups together. Even the umpires consisted of teenage kids who had no experience or training. “(Diane) took a league that was started and they built it into a good rec league,” said Ted Spiewak, Diane’s husband. “Built their money up to get lights put in (at Gingerwood Park). That’s all important.” Diane …
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Recent Oak Forest graduate Tim Barry is testing his slugging ability with a wood bat this summer for the Panthers, whose home games are at Prairie State College.
Recent Oak Forest High School graduate Tim Barry is playing for the Crestwood Panthers this summer. The Panthers are an amateur baseball club that plays home games at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights. Barry, who has been playing third base, was 2-for-7 on the season heading into Saturday’s home game. Here is the team’s schedule if you want to go check out a game. The Panthers play in the Northern Illinois and Chicago Suburban baseball leagues and use wood bats. In other Tim Barry news, the slugger was named first team All-State by the Chicago Tribune for the recently completed high school season. Earlier this week, Barry was named one of Patch’s Top Spring Athletes. Oak Forest ace Kyle Funkhouser was named second-team All-State by …
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Bengals pitcher Colleen Sherwood will continue her softball career at Benedictine University at Springfield.
The Oak Forest softball team made a deep playoff run before losing a 1-0 nail-biter to LaSalle-Peru in Monday's Normal University Supersectional. A key to the Bengals’ success this season could be found on the mound. The dynamic pitching duo of Emily Norton and Colleen Sherwood excelled for the Bengals all season. In Saturday’s Oak Forest Sectional championship game, the pair combined to no-hit Evergreen Park as Oak Forest won 9-0. This was Sherwood's last go-around as a Bengal. She’ll be attending Benedictine University at Springfield and will continue her softball career. She plans on studying elementary education.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Oak Forest softball pitcher Emily Norton plays major role in Bengals capturing fourth consecutive sectional championship.
Four-for-four. Oak Forest senior hurler Emily Norton accomplished a rare feat Saturday when the Bengals beat Evergreen Park 9-0 to win the Class 3A Oak Forest Sectional championship. She has been the winning pitcher in each of the Bengals’ last four sectional titles. Norton combined on a no-hitter with senior Colleen Sherwood on Saturday to earn Patch Player of the Week honors. “I just go out there and pitch like I’ve never done it before,” said Norton, who was the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year in 2009 after leading the Bengals to the state championship. “I just always want to pitch as well as I can.” Norton struck out 10 in five innings Saturday, while Sherwood pitched the final two innings. Norton also went 3-for-3 with an RBI …
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Bengals' no-hitter against Evergreen Park on Saturday moves the team another step closer to its goal. Next up: Monday's supersectional.
After winning the program’s first state championship in 2009, the Oak Forest softball team used a specific quote as motivation last season. “The quote was ‘Getting to the top is the easy part, staying on top is the hard part,’ ” Oak Forest coach Paige Stryczek said. “That is the hard part because nobody is going to underestimate you anymore. We have a little bit more focus this year because we need to go back to playing Bengal softball.” The Bengals were denied a shot at defending their Class 3A championship last season when eventual state champion Metamora beat Oak Forest 7-3 in the supersectional. Oak Forest is now hoping to avoid a repeat of that disappointment. The Bengals (30-4) moved one win away from another state trip by beating …
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Oak Forest 9, Evergreen Park 0: Emily Norton and Colleen Sherwood combine on the pitching gem as the Bengals earn their fourth sectional title in a row.
Touching All the Bases: Senior pitchers Emily Norton and Colleen Sherwood combined on a no-hitter to help Oak Forest beat Evergreen Park 9-0 in Saturday’s Class 3A Oak Forest Sectional final. It was the fourth straight sectional championship for the Bengals, who won the 2009 state championship. Norton (21-4) pitched the first five innings, striking out 10 and allowing just two walks and one hit batter, while Sherwood tossed two perfect innings, striking out two. “I’m definitely excited about the no-hitter,” Norton said. “It was hot out and I was definitely loose. All my pitches felt really good and I got in a rhythm. Towards the end I started to get a little tired, but I had Colleen to come in and back me up, which was great.” Top-seeded …
Thursday, June 2, 2011
The Bengals overcame early-game jitters to beat Lemont and advance to Saturday's sectional championship game.
After breezing through regional play by battering Chicago Longwood and Hillcrest by a combined runs total of 17-0, Oak Forest’s softball team got the kind of stern test the Bengals were anticipating. In Wednesday’s Class 3A sectional semifinal game, Lemont immediately ended Oak Forest’s string of opponents’ scoreless innings by taking a 1-0 lead in the first. But like they have all season, the Bengals used active bats behind stellar pitching from Emily Norton to triumph with a 4-1 victory and advance to Saturday’s sectional finals. “Knowing we’ve got to come in here and battle for the win, it gets us pumped up,” Norton said about playing tougher competition. “It really gets our team in the mood to keep winning and beat these good teams.” …
Monday, May 23, 2011
Oak Forest senior Emily Missaggia moved to the second spot in the batting order this past week and thrived.
After a loss to T.F. South last Tuesday, Oak Forest’s softball players did some soul searching, and it seems to have paid off. Senior first baseman Emily Missaggia was a big part of the turnaround, moving to the second spot in the batting order following the Bengals' loss. After going 3-for-3 with a run scored against T.F. South, Missaggia went 7-for-12 with 3 RBIs and three runs scored in four wins last week. In recognition of her performance, Missaggia has been named Patch’s Athlete of the Week. “When we lost, we all came back really upset,” Missaggia said. “We had a team talk and we really just had to get over it. So we decided to use our next game as a steppingstone to regionals. Now that’s what we’re focusing on.” Missaggia saw the …
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Samantha Bal is swinging a hot bat and playing some mean defense for Oak Forest's 12-2 softball team.
As a senior, Samantha Bal has enjoyed plenty of success as a member of Oak Forest’s softball team, including earning a state title medal in 2009. Bal, who plays second and third base, is a key member of this season’s 12-2 team. She says she’s been seeing the ball extremely well at the plate, and the results bear that out. "I'm pretty sure I've gotten a hit (at least) once a game this year,” she said. “I just go up to the plate thinking that it's batting practice each time. I don't put the worry of the game on my shoulders. It's just about the game situation. That's been working for me." Against Tinley Park on Tuesday, Bal extended that streak. She laid down a sacrifice bunt her first time up, then grounded out hard to short. She made the …
Monday, April 11, 2011
Bengals catcher continues to be a force behind the plate and with the bat, despite a broken finger.
Oak Forest junior catcher Emily Naegele is one tough kid. During the first week of practice this season, a throw came from the outfield and the ball hit the top of her middle finger, breaking it. Naegele has been playing—as a catcher, no less—with the broken finger for about four weeks. Despite the broken finger, Naegele led Oak Forest to a 3-0 record last week as she went 5-for-9 with 6 RBIs, a home run and three runs scored. As a result of her performance, she has been named Patch’s Athlete of the Week. Oak Forest improved to 10-2 with a 4-1 win over Andrew on Saturday. With expectations high at Oak Forest, those two losses stick out to Naegele. “So far we’ve had a bit of a bumpy road, but that’s how every season pretty much starts out …