Norton, Naegele lead Oak Forest to winShepard pitcher Devon Neubauer delivers a pitch against Oak Forest.
Updated: March 23, 2011 3:52PM
Junior catcher Emily Naegele was a hitting hero for Oak Forest in its 3-0 season-opening win Monday over visiting Shepard, whacking an RBI double and a solo home run.
She also threw a runner out trying to steal second.
Not bad for a kid with nine fingers. Well, nine working fingers, anyway.
"Actually, it's not too bad now," Naegele said, smiling as she pulled the cover off her broken right middle digit. "It was three times the size of the other one."
Norton broke the finger less than two weeks earlier while making a play at the plate during practice. She went to the doctor, but it was Naegele who gave the orders.
"I made him tell me I could play," she said.
Naegele returned to practice the next day.
"She came back with a note that said, Play as tolerated,' " Bengals coach Paige Stryczek said, laughing. "I knew she wasn't going to let it stop her."
Pitcher Emily Norton, meanwhile, was pretty much Emily Norton. She was a little wild, with four walks and a hit batter. She was plenty overpowering, with 14 strikeouts. In the end, she walked off the mound composed and workmanlike - odd, considering she had just thrown a no-hitter.
"I really didn't know it was a no-hitter," Norton said of her nonchalant exit from the mound after the final out. "I'm happy about (the no-hitter), but I really want to be done with those walks and wild pitches.
"When people walk they can score runs. And I don't want that. But since it's the first game of the season I'm not too worried about it."
Seven of the nine starting Bengals reached base at least once. Emily Missaggia contributed a single and a triple, Samantha Bal a pair of singles and Jourdan Skirha an RBI single.
Naegele's rip down the left-field line for a double in the bottom of the first scored Bal with the Bengals' first run. Naegele drove a warning track flyout to center in the fourth before hitting a bomb over the right-field fence in the sixth.
Shepard (1-1) had its shining moments on defense. Outfielders Crista Dusek and Kate Andersen both threw out runners at the plate, while catcher Ali Alacron nailed a Bengal trying to steal third. Astros ace Devon Neubauer stranded three other baserunners.
"We held our own," new Astros coach Kelsey Clifford said. "They came out with some louder bats than us, but we can walk away from this on with our heads held high."