PREP SOFTBALL

Fearsome threesome’ leads St. Francis into sectional

2013-05-20T19:00:00Z 2013-05-28T20:25:08Z Fearsome threesome’ leads St. Francis into sectionalJoe Alberico Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 20, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

Opposing teams facing the heart of the St. Francis de Sales softball lineup may want to execute a new strategy over the remainder of the postseason: take the softball and just throw it over the outfield fence, there’s a good chance it’s going to end up there anyway.

The Pioneers have one of the most powerfully imposing 2-3-4 hitters in Class 1A this season. With the team fighting in its first sectional appearance in five years, Jensen Hunt, Tasia Harris and Kylee Carrasco don’t have any intentions of letting up.

“We’ve sort of become a fearsome threesome,” said Carrasco, who has mashed five home runs this season while raking her way to a .337 batting average and 26 RBIs. Carrasco just missed collecting her sixth home run on Saturday after a shot to center caromed off the top of the center-field fence and stayed in play.

Heading into a Class 1A Iroquois West Sectional semifinal tilt with Donovan at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the core of the 14-6 Pioneers' batting order has combined for 16 home runs. Hunt leads the way with six to go with a .514 batting average and 24 RBIs. Harris has five homers, a .492 average and 25 RBIs.

After a 17-5 thrashing of Morgan Park Academy on Saturday gave St. Francis the Morgan Park Academy Regional championship, its first regional title since 2005, the most intimidating realization may be this: Hunt, Harris and Carasco are juniors.

“Watching these girls from the beginning of the offseason, I knew that they could be something special,” St. Francis coach Juan Carrasco said. “I was hoping for and expecting this to happen from day one, and I feel lucky that I get these girls for another year.”

Last spring, Harris and Carrasco provided the power for the Pioneers while Hunt played her sophomore season at Washington High School.

“Jensen and I were great friends and teammates since we were little kids,” Kylee Carrasco said. “So once she decided to come to St. Francis and play on this team, I knew we had a chance to be something special.”

If the power numbers aren’t impressive enough, the trio of sluggers has also combined for 58 stolen bases, with Hunt leading the pack with 30.

“I think that’s why we’re such a dangerous bunch,” Hunt said. “If we aren’t hitting it over the fence, we’re getting on base and finding other ways to score.”

With his team inching closer to the state tournament, Juan Carrasco couldn’t ask for a more potent core leading the way for his squad.

“What’s great about Hunt, Harris and Kylee is that if you get No. 2 out, well, then here comes a dangerous No. 3," he said. “And if you get Harris out, well, here comes another dangerous hitter in Kylee Carasco at No. 4.

“And when you add in the fact that we’ve been fortunate enough to surround those girls with players who can get on base, it allows our two, three and four hitters to be even more effective and productive for our ball club.”

For Kylee Carrasco, she believes that the team’s string of success is just starting.

“I feel like this was kind of like our warm-up year,” she said. “We want to play as long as we can this year, and we’re ready to take this team all the way to state if we can.

"But we have seven juniors on this team ... that’s half of our team. We know that if we keep this up, the future is just as bright, if not brighter for 2014.”

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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