WESTERN SPRINGS — Considering how the Riverside Brookfield softball season has started, the Bulldogs are trying anything to get things back on track.
After getting swept by Lyons Township in a doubleheader on Saturday that dropped RB to a shocking 0-7 start, coach John Vermillion is desperate enough to try different uniform combinations to get the team going. Until Monday's 14-3 win over Westmont none had worked.
“We play fine for 90 percent of the game and the way it’s been going we’ll have a letdown in one inning and that’s what costs us the game,” Vermillion said.
The Bulldogs surrendered all six runs in the third inning of Game 1 against the Lions in a 6-1 loss. LT won a back-and-forth Game 2 7-6.
Wednesday’s season opener against Fenwick was scoreless heading into extra innings, where the Friars scored five runs in the eighth inning for a 5-0 win.
A split doubleheader on Thursday resulted in a 14-1 road loss at Nazareth and a 13-7 home loss to De La Salle. A strong Willowbrook team beat the Bulldogs 5-0 and 3-1 on Friday.
Vermillion defended his pitchers, sophomore returner Katie O’Connell and junior Hayden Claire, but the hitting and defense has lagged behind in the early games.
“We’ve struggled offensively and our defense has been poor,” Vermillion said. “We’re getting base runners on base, but we’re not getting them in.”
Jasmine Castaneda has been one of the bright spots as a leadoff hitter. She started Game 2 Saturday with a home run and was hitting .304 entering Monday’s game against Westmont.
Catcher Emily Hastings, the team’s lone all-conference returner, is also off to a strong start. Hastings started 11-for-20 (.550) through seven games.
The rest of the Bulldogs are still getting adjusted to new roles on the team. Vermillion noted that even some of his returners, like outfielders-turned-infielders Castaneda and Emma Schander, are in new positions.
Vermillion hopes the Bulldogs can make a run now that their toughest stretch of games is behind them.
“We have not had any breaks go our way at all,” the coach said. “Teams go through this every once in a while.”