CAROL STREAM — Biding her time behind Lilly Fecho the last couple of seasons, Lindsey Cherry has finally gotten the opportunity to be the Glenbard North staff ace.
And the senior, who will continue her career at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, has capitalized on her chance, helping to lead the Panthers to seven victories in their first eight games.
On Monday, Cherry handed defending Class 3A state champion Glenbard South its first loss of the season, tossing a complete-game, five-hitter in Glenbard North’s 6-1 win.
“I’m happy with how things are going,” Cherry said. “We’ve come out strong and hopefully we will finish that way.”
Not possessing the fastball of a Fecho, now at Purdue, Cherry instead relies on pinpoint accuracy and changing speeds.
“She has been unbelievable this year,” said Glenbard North coach Josh Sanew. “That’s the thing, her location is so spot on. You might not see her firing the ball but if you get in there against her, it’s tough. She mixes her pitches and she is not afraid to get in on your hands.
“She waited so long for her opportunity and she has taken it and run with it.”
While Cherry was holding down the Raiders’ bats, the Glenbard North offense came alive with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. The big blow was a two-RBI single by Ashley Benz while Ashley Stiver also added an RBI single. In the fourth, Stephanie Campos put the game out of reach with a two-run homer.
“Glenbard South is a very tough team and that is probably the best pitcher we’ve seen all year,” the coach said. “I thought we did a good job attacking the ball and Benz got us going with that big hit. It was definitely a good ball game for us, probably the best game we’ve played all year.”
Glenbard North was coming off a doubleheader sweep over Oak Park-River Forest Saturday by scores of 6-4 and 10-4. Benz was 6-for-8 with six RBIs on the day while Alex Caliva went 5-for-8.
“It was a good two games against Oak Park,” Sanew said. “It was a tough day to play but we got two good pitching performances and we hit the ball well.”
The Panthers were scheduled to take on Schaumburg Thursday and will have the weekend off before opening up DuPage Valley Conference play with a Monday matchup at West Chicago.
“I feel like we are headed in the right direction,” Sanew said. “We are on a roll and it’s been nice to play some really good teams the last few games to get us ready.
“We know how tough it is in our conference. And we have a bullseye on our back after last year. The talk will probably be about Naperville Central and us but you can’t look past anybody. I’ve learned on any given day, any team can beat you.”