Softball: Naperville Central tops Naperville North in extra inningsNaperville North's Stephanie Tobin lays down a bunt against Naperville Central on Friday. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 27, 2012 9:24PM
Friday’s DuPage Valley Conference crosstown battle between Naperville Central and Naperville North did not disappoint as the visiting Redhawks overcame an early two-run deficit to win 6-2 in eight innings.
A Juliet Tassi sacrifice fly with the bases loaded gave Naperville Central a 3-2 lead and the Redhawks tacked on three insurance runs with help from three Huskies errors in the eighth.
Keegan Hayes (9-2) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning as Naperville Central (16-4, 5-1_ held on in what turned out to be a nail-biter, even with a four-run cushion.
“It was nice to have all those extra runs when the bottom of the eighth came around,” Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum said.
Nussbaum’s decision to bring in Hayes with two on and no out in the fifth proved critical. Hayes stranded the two runners, both of whom had reached on errors, and she and starter Kristina Vizza combined to hold the Huskies hitless from the second through the seventh innings. Hayes struck out four straight over the sixth and seventh.
“I thought once Keegan came in — and she looked pretty sharp — I felt like if we (could) get one, I think we’re gonna be OK,” Nussbaum said.
Nussbaum also pointed to Vizza’s escape act in the third as a pivotal moment in the game. The left-hander slammed the door shut on Naperville North’s offense after the Huskies loaded the bases with no outs, getting out of that inning unscathed.
Naperville North (12-7, 4-2) struck first in the first as Caitlyn Warren doubled, Tara Degl’Innocenti walked and Kailee Budicin doubled both in for the 2-0 lead.
Kaitlyn Skarecky hit a sacrifice fly in the third to bring home the Redhawks’ first run and Naperville Central tied the game in the fifth on a Naperville North error.
Things stayed knotted at 2 until Tassi worked a lengthy at-bat against Kathleen Hahne (9-5). The junior catcher finally found a pitch to her liking and drilled a ball to left for the go-ahead run.
“(I was) just trying to get the ball in play to score the run,” Tassi said. “I was looking for the fastball right down the plate but she gave it to me pretty close, so it was good.”
Fielding was the one facet neither team excelled in as the Huskies committed four errors and the Redhawks had three miscues. Naperville North regretted leaving nine runners on base.
“(Naperville Central) got out of some jams,” Huskies coach Jerry Kedziora said. “We did not come up with the big hit.”