Softball: Libertyville’s Oberman showing a lot of promise
Libertyville, 04/12/12--Libertyville's Haley Alban pitches during Thursday's game against visiting Antioch. | Jeff Krage~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2012 1:33AM
When former Stevenson High School star Elissa Wisniewski took over as Libertyville softball coach, she found a program that has struggled in recent years.
But there were some promising young players in the program ready to produce for the new skipper.
One of those players is sophomore Tayler Oberman, who’s now the starting shortstop — and with a little pop in her bat. Wisniewski moved her from the top spot in the batting order to third. And in a 9-4 win over NSC Prairie Division power Antioch on April 12, Oberman drove home three runs with two singles and a double. She also leads the Wildcats with four triples.
“She’s a really good young player,” Wisniewski said. “She leads by example.”
Wisniewski inherited a team that was coming off of a 20-loss season a year ago. This year’s club, with another slugger on hand in junior Margaret Haws, ran off three wins in a row before falling to Mundelein 2-1 on Monday.
“We are going through growing pains,” Wisniewski said. “We are working closely with the Libertyville Girls Softball Association. We are doing some good things.”
Haws has moved into the cleanup spot in the batting order. After 11 games, this junior paced the team in hitting (.424). She also has five steals and two triples.
Of course, softball still starts with pitching. The Libertyville hurlers are Emilie Teitz, a senior, and that other sophomore on the team, Haley Alban.
Both pitchers added a win to their respective records in a doubleheader sweep of Buffalo Grove on Saturday. Alban tossed a shutout in a 2-0 win over the Bison, and Oberman doubled to support Teitz in an 11-5 romp.
Wisniewski did inherit some quality seniors. Nicole Kruckman marks her fourth season with the Wildcats. She’s off to a good start, hitting .385 with a team-high eight stolen bases and six walks.
In the win over Antioch, seniors Calley Kaluzny and Emily Gilbert added doubles in the late comeback. Another veteran senior, Andie Grant, paces the Wildcats in doubles (4). Other seniors back for another season include Lauren Vogg, Val Steinhauser, Sam Bone and Maggie Meyer.
The Cats also have a pair of key juniors: catcher Haley Hoeksel and infielder Izzy Alsena.
Record books: Wisniewski is in the IHSA record book for most pitching victories in a career (99). she returned to Lincolnshire to face her former coach, Larry Friedrichs — and the school where she coached for five seasons — on April 10. Stevenson spoiled the party for the Cats’ skipper, notching its first win of the season with a 5-2 decision.
“It was good to be back, but I really wanted to beat them,” she said. “But it was great to see all the kids that I coached over there. I was excited to see the parents and players.”
On deck: The Wildcats visit North Chicago on Thursday. Libertyville then faces powerful Barrington for a doubleheader, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.