Home Sports Grayslake Central freshman Kate Davies was surprised to make varsity. ‘She proved herself’ again with one swing.

Grayslake Central freshman Kate Davies was surprised to make varsity. ‘She proved herself’ again with one swing.

by staff

Kate Davies’ plans changed quickly a couple of months ago.

After playing tennis and basketball, Davies went into the latter part of her freshman year at Grayslake Central brimming with excitement.


It was time for softball.

“Softball is my favorite,” she said. “I love the game. It’s awesome.”


But Davies didn’t expect to make Grayslake Central’s varsity team. A catcher by trade, she also didn’t expect to switch to first base. The Rams were set at catcher with junior Eliza Piggott, one of the top players in Lake County, and wanted Davies’ bat in the lineup.

“Eliza is awesome, but I kind of like first base because catching is a lot of work,” Davies said. “I had never played it before, so it was new. It’s been interesting. It’s been hard to learn but fun to learn more about the game.”

It might be time to learn about Davies, who hit a walk-off two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning Wednesday as seventh-seeded Grayslake Central pulled out a thrilling 6-5 win against ninth-seeded Lakes in the Class 3A Lakes Regional semifinals in Lake Villa.

The Rams (12-13) scored five runs in the last three innings to advance to the regional championship game against second-seeded Carmel at 10 a.m. Saturday. Trinity Breault earned the pitching victory with two innings in relief of starter Annie Wolff.

“It was a big win today, and we always talk about fighting until the very end, and we’ve had a couple of comebacks in the last inning and got another one today,” Grayslake Central coach Jim Plaza said. “We came up big. I never count these girls out.”

Lakes (6-24), which won a regional title as an 11th seed last year, led 4-1 after Jackie Kohler hit a three-run triple during a four-run fifth inning. Riley Bell-Nance finished with two hits and an RBI for the Eagles, and Emily Ovaska added two hits.

Piggott, who led Grayslake Central’s offense with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored, nearly tied the game with a long drive over the right field fence that went foul, but her RBI single cut Lakes’ lead to 5-4. The Eagles decided to walk Emma Andrews, who had hit a two-run single in the fifth.

Davies, hitless in her first three at-bats, then came through in the clutch.


“We wanted to walk the batter before because that meant nothing and set up the force at the plate,” Lakes coach Bill Hamill said. “The numbers said we were better off walking (Andrews). But (Davies) stepped up to the plate, and she did the job. She was up there for a reason. You have to tip your hat to them. They came out and wanted it.”

Indeed, Davies wanted that chance.

“I was a little nervous because they walked the girls before me, it was a really close game and I had to get a hit,” she said. “I knew I really wanted it. Those are my favorite moments, and that’s why I play the game.

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“I struggled a bit early in the game but stayed confident. I knew the team was behind me, and I knew you won’t always get these types of moments. High school is very short-lived.”

Plaza said Davies made an immediate impression on the coaching staff in tryouts. In the past few weeks, she has been on a tear, raising her batting average to .333. She has 17 RBIs and 12 runs.

“Kate has been impressive since day one in tryouts,” Plaza said. “She has done a great job and is one of those kids who is a quiet kid but intense and a hard worker. It was awesome to see her come through.


“She was pretty hard on herself earlier in the game. We just stressed to her we knew what she could do and was here for a reason. She proved herself.”

Piggott, who scored the winning run, said she never doubted Davies’ ability.

“Kate has been making the transition to first base, but I tried to help her out with little things,” Piggott said. “She’s really grown into the position. I was so excited for her after her walk-off. That’s a great way to end a game.”

Bobby Narang is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.

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