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Rookie pitcher Hedgcock conquers nerves, closes the door

DOWNERS GROVE – Caroline Hedgcock was nervous before Friday’s game against Morton, and that was before she knew how early she’d come into the game.

The Downers Grove South freshman pitcher was thrown into the fire of the big West Suburban Gold clash between the two Mustangs. Starting pitcher Kelly Schmitt left in the first inning with an injury after Morton already had scored a run, but Hedgcock shut the door in South’s 4-1 win Friday.

“I was sitting in my eighth-period class freaking out because I was so nervous,” Hedgcock said. “I’m always ready to play, but I was not expecting [to come in early]. I’ve never really had to throw without warming up at all so I was really, really nervous.”

The lefty kept Morton at bay as South (10-5 overall and 4-0 in the WSG after the game) battled back to win the game.

“Everyone was saying maybe I should start a game without warming up at all,” Hedgcock said with a laugh.

South tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first on an infield single by Caitlyn Daly. Daly added a triple in the third as part of a three-run inning that was aided by three Morton errors.

Hedgcock shut the door to help South win the battle of Gold undefeated teams.

“She came in a little earlier than she probably expected to in the first inning there, but she did a great job,” Downers South coach Ron Havelka said. “She came in and shut the door.”

Havelka said Monday that Schmitt, coming off an ACL injury in the fall, tweaked her previously injured knee, but it was not serious. He said Hedgcock will pitch until Schmitt is ready to come back, which Havelka hopes is in time for Saturday’s senior day doubleheader against Oswego East.

“We’ll give Kelly a few days rest and see how she’s doing later in the week,” the coach said. “I’d like to have her pitch Saturday because she is a senior.”

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