CICERO – After a strong start to the season, Morton softball had raised its expectations.
Then standout junior catcher Jenna Boyajian tore her ACL in early May and the Mustangs were simply scrambling to fill the void.
Coach Tom Eukovich thinks his team is starting to get things resettled after the loss of the three-year varsity starter, who will have surgery with the hopes of being back for the start of next season. Freshman Karina Madera has moved from third base to behind the plate and a few other moves around the field have had to follow.
“We’re getting a bit better with the adjustment to losing Jenna,” Eukovich said. “Madera is getting better every game.”
Morton finished the regular season 17-7 with an 8-4 record in the West Suburban Gold. The third-place finish in the Gold came after a 7-1 start in the league. Losses to Willowbrook, Hinsdale South and league-winner Downers Grove South came after Boyajian’s injury.
The 7-4 loss to Downers Grove South on May 13 was a tight affair that still left Eukovich proud of his team’s fight. Similarly, the Mustangs lost 4-1 to a talented Mother McAuley team on Thursday and were tied heading into the seventh inning.
“For the most part we’ve had a bounce-back season,” Eukovich said. “I’m happy with how things are going.”
The Mustangs were 17-18 overall and 4-8 in the Gold last year so this year’s team showed great improvement. If not for early season cancellations, Morton likely would have cracked the 20-win mark.
Eukovich said winning a regional would cap off a very successful season. No. 5-seed Morton begins the playoffs Tuesday against No. 12 Oak Lawn as regional hosts.
“We’ve had a nice season already,” Eukovich said. “It’s been a real enjoyable season.”