It was a family affair April 21 at the Dominican Priory in River Forest as Bryan Hoffman and his Fenwick High School softball team welcomed neighborhood rival Trinity High School, for whose team Hoffman’s daughter Danielle plays.
“It really wasn’t as weird as I thought it was going to be,” Bryan Hoffman said. “The hardest part is that we’re hoping for success with our team, but at the same time I want Danielle to do well, and clearly she had success today.”
Indeed, Danielle Hoffman had a good day both in the circle and at the plate against the Friars. She pitched a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and reached base twice as the Blazers rolled to an 8-0 victory.
“Our team did great today,” said Danielle Hoffman. “I feel we came together as a team and we’re starting to make some headway and become the team we’re supposed to be this year.
“Facing my dad’s team wasn’t as awkward like I thought it would be, but I’m kind of worried about family dinner tonight,” she added with a grin. “I thought it went well and was a nice, friendly competition.”
Danielle Hoffman showed why she’s Trinity’s top pitcher, and Blazers coach James Goranson felt this was her best outing of the season.
“Danielle was incredible,” he said. “I told her this was going to be her game today, and she and [catcher] Linnea (Drever) were lights out. I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts. When Danielle is in the circle, we have a chance against any team.”
Trinity (5-6) started with a pair of runs in the first inning. Lia Caporale’s double plated Analisa Barone. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Caporale scored on a RBI groundout by Eleanor Flores.
The game then settled into a pitching duel between Hoffman and Fenwick ace Talia Lorenzo. In the top of the fifth, the Blazers erupted for five runs that effectively put things away.
“Danielle started it by fouling off pitches and the rest of the lineup followed. You could honestly see the frustration on [Lorenzo],” said Goranson of the pivotal inning. “We strung some hits together.”
After Hoffman doubled to lead off, Meagan Murphy singled and Fenwick intentionally walked Caporale to load the bases. Then Flores singled to right, driving home two to give Trinity a 4-0 lead.
“Eleanor’s been solid all year,” Goranson said. “She takes balls and swings at strikes, and that goes a long way in the game of softball. We can rely on her in the clutch.”
Drever drove in Caporale with a RBI groundout, then Kendall Hynes doubled to plate Flores and give the Blazers a 6-0 lead. That would be all for Lorenzo, who gave up seven runs on seven hits to go with four walks and seven strikeouts.
“She’s a really good pitcher and was challenging me at the plate,” said Danielle Hoffman of Lorenzo, who’s thrown two no-hitters this year, including a perfect game. “She kept us on our toes.”
“Talia’s a great pitcher, but we need to make more plays behind her,” said Bryan Hoffman. “If we catch fly balls, it’s a closer game.”
Hynes scored on a wild pitch by Friars’ pitcher Sophie Stone to cap Trinity’s five-run fifth, then the Blazers added another run in the sixth when Murphy, who had three hits, homered to right-center.
Fenwick (5-8) had just three hitters reach base against Danielle Hoffman. Ellie Kolb walked in the second, Marisa Sena singled in the fifth and Kailey Janda singled in the sixth.
Both Fenwick and Trinity lost their doubleheaders on April 23. The Friars lost to visiting Resurrection 5-2 and 10-9. In the second game, Fenwick had 13 hits, including home runs by Caity Barganski and Janda. Meanwhile, the Blazers fell to host Providence Catholic 5-0 and 13-1 respectively.