Howell North baseball off to impressive start
There have been good starts in previous seasons for the Francis Howell North baseball Knights, but few starts have been as impressive as its 2016 season opening.
Entering the final week of March, Howell North was out to a blazing 6-0 start fresh off of a 3-2 victory over De Smet Jesuit in the Midwest Classic Tournament on March 28.
The Knights have had just about everything working in perfect harmony during their first appearances of the season.
“It’s been just battling through at bats, making all of the 95 percent plays, the pitchers hitting a lot of bats and us making plays,” Howell North coach Bob Dunahue said. “We’ve been quite opportunistic thus far and it’s been fun.”
Howell North opened the season with five games in the 21st Annual Troy Tournament. The Knights posted victories over Hillsboro [3-1], Fort Zumwalt West [5-4], and Fort Zumwalt East [14-1] in three pool play games on March 18 and 19.
Then the Knights defeated Holt [5-2] on March 22 in the semifinals at Troy and finished out the tournament in dominant fashion with a 11-3 win over Fort Zumwalt North to claim the tournament championship on March 23.
Senior pitcher/outfielder Jarrett O’Brien was 2 for 4 with two runs scored. O’Brien pitched a complete game giving up just two earned runs to get the win.
“Six of the top 10 teams in the area played in that Troy Tournament,” Dunahue said. “And our first two weeks we play two tournaments and get 10 games against quality competition so we should know pretty well what we have and don’t after these first two weeks.
“Winning it is just gravy, just icing on the cake.”
Senior catcher Jake Kalusniak [.444], senior right fielder Graham Riley [.429], senior outfielder Jake Viehman [.360] and O’Brien [.333] provided the big bats in the Knights lineup in the early part of the season.
O’Brien, Max Brauch, Sam Grace and Blake Lodde form the core of the Knights pitching rotation.
The Knights are strong in the field and at the plate and that has helped fuel the big start.
“I would say defensively we are pretty solid and we’ve got some good sticks in the lineup, too,” Kalusniak said.
But the Knights are not about to get complacent this soon in the campaign.
“A 5-0 start is always good but there is still a lot of season left,” Kalusniak said. “I think if we stay strong, we can win some more games.”
Women’s collegiate soccer
After excelling for St. Charles Community College on the soccer pitch last fall, sophomore goalkeeper Mary McGilvray will transferring to Lindenwood University this fall to continue her soccer career.
McGilvray, a 2014 Washington [Missouri] High School product, spent her first season at Coffeyville [Kansas] Community College before transferring to St. Charles Community College in the spring of 2015 and playing with the Lady Cougars last fall.
“She came out of Washington High School, played one season at Coffeyville Community College, came back home and reached out to us,” St. Charles Community College coach Josh Tyler said.
McGilvray was strong in the goal box all season with seven shutouts, giving up just 16 goals and earning First Team All-Region honors.
“She’s an extremely gifted athlete and fearless and her skills are something that many Division 2 programs are looking for,” Tyler said.
Blessed with quick hands and feet and strong goalie instincts, McGilvray should be able to go into Lindenwood and make an impact immediately in the fall.
“The impact she will want to make over there will be determined by how hard she works in the offseason,” Tyler said. [Coach] Laurie Kaminski runs a good program over at Lindenwood and I think Mary will do well over there. The impact she makes there is up to her.”
McGilvray is the second player in program history to go on to play at Lindenwood.
The Lady Cougars have one other transfer that is going on to play soccer at a four-year school this fall.
Sophomore Madison Jarrell is transferring to Williams Woods University this fall.
High school girls soccer
Francis Howell Central’s girls soccer team appears to picking up where it left off last season.
The Spartans, runners-up in the Class 4 tournament in 2015, began the month of April with a 3-0-1 mark thanks to winning a couple of games in the Fort Zumwalt Kickoff Tournament back on March 21-24.
Howell Central opened the tournament and season with a strong performance against state contender Rockwood Summit as they battled the Falcons to a 2-2 draw on March 21 at Fort Zumwalt North.
On the next day, [March 21], the Spartans blanked Zumwalt North 1-0 on a Molly Krispin goal. Standout goalkeeper Sydney Chalcraft, who stopped six shots, went all 80 minutes in goal to record the shutout.
On March 24, the Spartans finished their successful tournament appearance with a 3-0 shutout triumph over St. Charles West. Emma Farley scored two goals and had four points while Chalcraft picked up another shutout. Jenna Adkins, Taylor Amlong, and Abbie Rademacher all tallied assists.
Howell Central opened the final few days of March with a 3-0 win over Troy on March 29.