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10U Cougars Softball Team Wins Park Ridge Tournament

By Daryl O'Connor, 09/07/20, 5:00PM CDT

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A Sweet, Sweet Cougars Championship

When you sprinkle in timely hitting, dominant pitching and solid defense, you get to enjoy the taste of victory. Exactly what the 10U Cougars Softball Team did this past weekend in the Park Ridge Ice Cream Classic. The Cougars came to play for the best after-game treat—the championship trophy. It all kicked off Friday night with a 12-3 win over the Park Ridge Pistols, as the Cougars came out swinging. The offense was led by Avery O’Connor (2 for 3) and Chloe Pishkur (2 for 3, 3 RBIs) who hit an absolute bomb of a homerun to secure the win. Brin Matykiewicz was lights out on the mound, throwing five strong innings of 1 hit ball while striking out 13. In the Saturday matchups, the Cougars faced the always tough Oak Park Windmills and the Vernon Hills Stingers. The Cougars got on the board early against the Windmills with big hits from Paige Blythe, Maddie Housley, Riley Raible and Myka Matykiewicz, who crushed a two-run homerun over the right field fence to put the Cougars up 4-0. But the Windmills wouldn’t quit. They came back with runs in three consecutive innings to tie the score 4-4. The Cougars had their chances in the bottom of the last inning when they had bases loaded with only one out, but were unable to push the winning run across, ending the game in a 4-4 tie. Next came the Stingers from Vernon Hills. Cougars got down early 10-2, but actually never got down mentally. The Comeback Cougars stayed fierce at the plate with timely hits from Sara Steinecker and Brooke Shoemaker to get the Cougars back within striking distance. Kendall Kanouse toed the rubber in relief to shut the Stingers offense down, allowing only 2 hits and keeping the game within reach. Once again, down 11-10 in the bottom of the last inning, the Cougars had bases loaded with only 1 out, but weren’t able to get any runs across, thus ending the comeback with an 11-10 defeat. Sunday was a different story. The Cougars came out wearing their Sunday red jerseys and came to pounce on their competition. To win the championship, they would have to win back-to-back-to-back games. And that’s exactly what they did, knocking off the Park Ridge Pistols once again in the first game by the score of 10-2. Next up for the Cougars was the #1 seed, Barrington Bandits. It was a pitching dual for the ages. The game was 3-1 in favor of the Cougars through 5 innings thanks to timely hits from Avery O’Connor and a double by Chloe Pishkur. But the Cougars weren’t done. They broke things open in the top of the sixth with three runs courtesy of a leadoff double by Myka Matykiewicz, a single from Sara Steinecker, and a huge two-out double from Brooke Shoemaker. The story of this game, though, was the pitching. The Bandits thought they were seeing double—and they were. Identical twins Brin and Myka Matykiewicz combined to pitch a no-hitter against the highly explosive Bandit offense, striking out 12 through 6, and securing a spot in the championship game against, who else, the Oak Park Windmills. The Cougars were riding high on momentum and broke out with 5 runs in the first inning against Oak Park. But they didn’t stop there. Even after a long day, the Cougar bats were alive as ever. Grace Hoffman led off the top of the fourth for the Cougars with a smash up the middle, followed by doubles from Myka Matykiewicz and Maddie Housley. After that, it was off to the races for Elmhurst, tallying three more runs to make the score 11-2. Myka Matykiewicz once again was on the mound for the Cougars, but even after a day in the heat, she kept bringing her heat, striking out 13 and giving up only one hit through five innings. Talk about saving the best for last. In their last tournament of 2020, the 10U Cougars softball team brought home the sweetest treat they could ask for this summer—the Park Ridge Ice Cream Classic championship trophy. Well-deserved for a team whose motto is… HARD WORK WORKS!