By Randy Whalen
For the Bugle
While the Bolingbrook softball team ended the month of April with a .500 record of 8-8, there were a lot of signs that lasts seasons run to a sectional final can be repeated.
The Raiders result from April 18 shows that.
Bolingbrook 9, Lockport Township 1.
“It shows we have a lot of talent,” Bolingbrook pitcher Lorrin Pondo said of the win over Lockport. “We have a great group of girls.”
The talent is certainly there since that loss for Lockport is one of two through April. As of May 1, the Porters record was 22-2. But they had a big loss to Bolingbrook in the Blue Division of the SouthWest Suburban Conference.
“That was the first time I’d ever beat Lockport,” said Bolingbrook coach Jean Ryan-Moak, who is in her 16th season as Raiders head coach.
A big reason why was the performance of Pondo, along with her battery mate — catcher Nicole Bond. They are two of only five seniors on the team.
“They’re definitely the dynamic duo out there,” Ryan-Moak said of Bond and Pondo. “They are two very smart and very special young ladies and will be missed.”
But hopefully they won’t be missed without helping the Raiders to another deep postseason run. Last year Pondo was lights out in the regional with a 4-1 win over host Batavia and a 3-0 shutout of No. 2 seeded West Aurora in the regional title game. That was followed by a 5-3 victory over Oswego East in the Plainfield East Sectional semifinals. Although the No. 10 seeded Raiders lost 13-3 in six innings to No. 1 seed and eventual Class 4A third place finisher Downers Grove South in the sectional title game, they made it that far.
“She’s come into her own out there,” Ryan-Moak said of Pondo. “Megan Lotarski was our main pitcher when Lorrin came up to varsity as a sophomore. She’s stepped out of Megan’s shadow and done great. She’s No. 4 in her class and has done great.”
Lotarski pitched the Raiders to their first ever regional title as a junior in 2014, a 7-1 win over No. 1 seeded Benet Academy. That team, however, lost 6-1 to Naperville Central in a sectional semifinal. So last season’s team went further.
The quiet spoken Pondo, who will continue her softball and academic career at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, is certainly grateful to have Bond as a catcher.
“Nicole and I work great and she calls all the pitches,” Pondo said. “The key for me is getting ahead on the hitters. We just need to keep practicing like we have been and make adjustments.”
Bond, who got a 33 on her ACT, is going to college at Loyola University. While she’s unsure if she will continue to play softball for the Ramblers, she’s also left her mark at Bolingbrook as a 4-year varsity player.
“She’s a great leader behind the plate,” Ryan-Moak said of Bond. “She’s calls the pitches and I believe in that. She’s the one to take charge out there. Plus her sister [sophomore Natalie Bond] is our second pitcher.”
Pardon the pun, but Nicole Bond is very happy that her and Pondo have formed a great bond.
“We made school history last year,” Bond said. “We’ve known each other since sixth grade and have great chemistry. I’ve caught her almost the entire time and we’re super close.”
Plus the duo has a certain pitch they love to call.
“Lorrin’s knuckle ball is incredible,” Bond said. “She’s had it since sixth or seventh grade. But softball doesn’t know age. I had an umpire tell me how good her knuckle ball was.
“Our last regional before last year we were freshmen. So for Lorrin to be in the circle and [win another regional last year] shows a lot to everyone. We all did a great job and contributed. We’re all the example.”
The rest of the seniors on this seasons squad are Carina Arteaga, Emily Brus, and Yanacey Izaguirre.