Softball: Carmel beats Mundelein for regional title
Carmel's Kathleen Felicelli is met by teammates after hitting a grand slam in the team's regional semifinal win over Wauekgan last week. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:34PM
When Carmel Catholic and Mundelein’s softball teams met in the IHSA Class 4A Carmel Regional championship game on Saturday — won by the Corsairs 2-0 — it wasn’t just a battle for crosstown bragging rights.
It was also a preview of a bright future for both squads.
Between the two teams this spring, there were a combined four seniors on the respective rosters. Carmel has three: Kelley Dodge (center field), Madeline Felipez (left field) and cleanup hitter Sally Snarski (first base).
“I’m really happy our four seniors were able to win a regional championship, finally,” Carmel coach Jason Raymond said. “They’ve all put in so much hard work during their time here.”
An RBI single by star veteran Snarski that wound up being the eventual game-winning run, while freshman third baseman Jenny Behan blasted her ninth home run of the season for an important insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
Another Carmel underclassman with a bright future, sophomore pitcher Nicole Bitter, tossed a one-hit shutout in the win over the Mustangs. The play of Bitter and junior pitcher Erika Schoenfeld was a big the Corsairs were able to capture their first regional title in four years.
“Both Nicole (Bitter) and Erika (Schoenfeld) have done a great job of manning our pitching mound all year,” said Carmel coach Jason Raymond. “When Nicole is on, she’s a tough pitcher. When she’s got her screwball working, and pounding those pitches on the inside corner, she’s a handful. And when Nicole hits her spots, she’s one of the best pitchers in Lake County, flat-out.”
Mundelein, meanwhile, loses just one senior to graduation in catcher Alex Hemmer, but it’s no small loss.
“We’re extremely young, but we’re losing a big senior,” Wilhelm said. “She calls pitches. She does a lot behind the plate — a lot of things behind the scenes. It’s gonna be tough to fill Alex’s shoes, just because she’s been so vital to Mundelein the last four years. The nice thing is, we are young. We had three freshmen that started pretty much the whole year. And two sophomores. So the future is bright. We have a decent class coming in (also), so we’ll see.”
Recap: While Carmel’s victory over Mundelein (14-18 overall record) ended the Mustangs’ season, the Corsairs (18-18) kept their postseason dreams alive.
Carmel was scheduled to face a powerful McHenry club in the Cary-Grove sectional semifinal on Wednesday. McHenry (23-3 overall) advanced to face the Corsairs after surprising top seed Cary-Grove 2-1 in the Huntley Regional. The sectional final is set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Carmel’s regional title was the team’s first since 2008. The last time the Corsairs won a sectional championship was in ’07.
In March, Raymond said he felt his team’s tough schedule throughout the regular season would help his club prepare for the playoffs, which has proven to be the case.