Freshman pitcher Emily Richardson kept Proviso West batters at bay in OPRF's win Friday. David Pierini/Staff Photographer

The Oak Park and River Forest Huskies softball team wanted to win as efficiently as possible against its conference foe Proviso West Panthers Friday, and they did just that.

The Huskies (5-10, 2-2) shut out the Panthers 10-0 in five innings at OPRF, as they batted around and scored five runs in the first inning. Junior outfielder Annelise Ryan got things going in the opening frame with a bunt single, and stole second with sophomore infielder Taylor Arends up to bat. Arends followed with a single to left-center, and Ryan would then score on a throwing error by the Panthers’ shortstop while Arends advanced to third.

With two outs in the first inning and the Huskies up 4-0, senior outfielder Elizabeth Kiefer capped off the scoring as she notched an RBI single to right field to score senior infielder Colleen McAdams from third to give OPRF their fifth run of the frame.

“It’s tough when you’re facing a slow pitcher,” said Huskies head coach Mel Kolbusz. “I told them to make it like every pitch was a changeup, and stay back and try to hit the ball back through the middle, and they did that quite a bit.”

Freshman pitcher Emily Richardson went 1-for-2 with three RBI, while Arends was 2-for-3 with two RBI and Ryan went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases.

Richardson threw five shut-out innings, giving up three hits while striking out six and walking three. After walking two batters and loading the bases with one out in the fifth, Richardson struck out Panthers lead-off hitter Nijima French. With Proviso West freshman Dominique Mazzulla at bat, Richardson threw a wild pitch but then tagged the runner from third out at home to seal the 10-0 victory.

“Coach (Kolbusz) hates walks,” Richardson said. “He stresses that so much. When I give up walks, it really gets in my head. Getting those last couple of batters out was tough, but it was what I had to do.”

“(Richardson) did get a little off whack there at the end, but she came back,” Kolbusz said. “She’s got a lot of potential so we’re giving her shots.”

Richardson helped her own cause in the second inning with a two RBI triple, scoring Ryan and Foster to put the Huskies up 7-0.

“I was standing in there looking for a changeup,” Richardson said. “I was trying to take it the opposite way, because pulling it wouldn’t do much. Taking it the way it’s supposed to go would help us out way more than a dead pull hitter.”

The Huskies’ conference record is now even, and although OPRF generally matches up well with the Panthers, Kolbusz stressed that his Huskies just go about their business in a game that should be a win.

“Proviso West tries very hard, but they’re the underdog when they play us,” Kolbusz said. “I told the girls we wanted to win 10-0 in five innings and get off the field and be efficient at it, and we accomplished what we wanted to do.”

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