Sandburg sophomore Zoe Trunk high-fives teammate Grace Torgerson (12) after the former scored a run during the Eagles’ 9-1 win over Richards to open the 2024 season. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Sandburg sophomore Zoe Trunk high-fives teammate Grace Torgerson (12) after the former scored a run during the Eagles’ 9-1 win over Richards to open the 2024 season. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Softball | Sandburg tops Richards, Crete-Monee to begin rebound season

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By Xavier Sanchez
Correspondent

With a blank slate, unblemished record and all goals still theoretically intact, beginning of the season for any sports team offers — if nothing else — hope.

Teams are looking to start fresh and either rebound from a season that failed to meet expectations, or build on the success from and progress made the year prior.

Two teams that fit either of those scenarios are Sandburg and Richards, which squared off in the season-opener for both on March 13 in Oak Lawn, with the Eagles taking 9-1 win over the Bulldogs.

Sandburg’s Zoe Jeanes had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a double, stolen base, run and two RBI. Zoe Trunk and Grace Fuller each had two hits and combined to score three runs, while Addison Torgerson reached base twice had two RBI. Fuller earned the win.

Richards junior Skylar Egan had two hits.

Eagles coach Amanda Allison is excited for the season and was understandably pleased by starting with a victory.

“It feels great,” Allison said. “And it was even better that it was a total team effort. A lot of people stepped up to the plate, a lot of people made things happen, and we just put things together at the right time.”

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Sandburg’s Estelle Loth eyes a pitch during the Eagles’ season-opening win over Richards. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Sandburg followed up with an 18-3 win over Crete-Monee on March 14.

Allison, who played for Sandburg’s 2010 state championship team, was an assistant at Sandburg the last six seasons.

The Eagles finished 9-21 last season and return eight seniors including Jeanes, Fuller and Torgerson. Junior Haley Tracey and sophomores Trunk and Gianna Schonecker have varisty experience.

Newcomers for the Eagles include sophomores Grace Friling and Grace Torgerson. Torgerson came off the bench and had RBI in the win over Richards.

Sandburg is a program that has seen great success, with 22 consecutive winning seasons from 1998-2019 before finishing under .500 the past three campaigns.

“We started to look at our culture and to put focus on our teammates and relationships in hopes that from there, things will grow and we will be successful,” Allison said. “Sandburg softball has a rich history of tradition and our upperclassmen will be leading the way to show our younger girls some of those things.

“We want to be a competitive program and we have the talent for that.”

 

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Richards pitcher Emily Chavosky leans in before throwing a pitch during the Bulldogs’ season-opening loss to Sandburg. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Richards Unphased
The Bulldogs took the stinging loss in stride. If anyone knows their team and what they are capable of, it is coach Julie Folliard, who has led or co-led Richards since 1989.

“Plenty of season to go,” Folliard said. “We need a little bit of seasoning and have some things to improve on, but that is what the season is for, too.”

Folliard is entering her 39th season at Richards and has amassed over 750 wins in her 36 years as head coach. She has guiding teams to 14 IHSA regional championship, four sectional finals and three super sectionals.

The Bulldogs won a 3A sectional crown in 2023 and return a strong core of seniors including Megan Wirtz, Abby Cole, Violet McIntrye, Amanda Romero and Bridget Walsh, the last of whom missed most of 2023 with an injury.

Folliard expects pitching to be a strength.

“We have four pitchers. That is something that is new for us,” she said. “Whatever look we need, they are willing to give it.”

A strong pitching staff is not complete without a great catcher, and the Bulldogs have theirs in junior Dateli Sandoval. 

“Dateli Sandoval is a great component behind the plate,” Folliard said. “I think she is going to evolve into a great leader for us.

Folliard believes success comes when players buy into being team-first athletes.

“If you put the team first, if you hustle and you treat each other with respect, I think you will have a great culture.”

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Richards’ Skylar Egan connects on a pitch during the Bulldogs’ 9-1 loss to Sandburg to open the 2024 season on March 13. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

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