Softball: St Charles North downs Elgin
Updated: May 8, 2012 11:04PM
When St. Charles North’s Courtney Smith got to Elgin High for Tuesday’s Upstate Eight River showdown, she thought she’d be watching from the bench.
Instead, a planned day off for Smith by coach Tom Poulin turned into a start when replacement Kailee Dressel got sick to her stomach during pregame warmups. Smith made the most of being put into the lineup with a key sixth-inning leadoff double out of the No. 9 hole that paved the way for a three-run inning and a North 3-0 victory.
“Typically we have her down near the bottom and I like her in the nine hole because she’s like another leadoff hitter,” Poulin said of Smith. “If we get her on, she’s got wheels.”
That’s exactly what happened in the sixth against losing pitcher Hannah Perryman (13-7), who had been dominating the Stars to that point. Perryman struck out 16 for the game and had allowed just two first-inning singles until the sixth.
Then Smith hit a 3-2 pitch high down the right-field line, and it landed a couple inches fair. When Sabrina Rabin followed that double with an opposite-field line drive that got past diving left fielder Katelyn Tinder for a triple, the Stars had the only run they needed.
“I think we just kind of were looking to foul off all the pitches (Perryman) was trying to make us swing at, and then try to see if we could get a pitch we could hit because all her pitches were coming in and breaking right as we were about to swing,” Smith said. “I’m not sure where (the pitch) was but I didn’t like it. I was just trying to foul it and hopefully get a better one.
“It worked out in the end.”
The Stars kept scoring, as Mickey Goetz put down a one-out, well-placed squeeze bunt and not only plated Rabin from third, but went all the way around the bases herself. No one covered first or second for the Maroons and then the throw to second sailed over center fielder Kenyatta Scales when she covered, allowing Goetz to circle the bases.
“It’s stuff we work on every day,” Elgin coach Chad Dahlman said of the squeeze. “It’s just a brain lapse and we can’t have them like this.”
Perryman wound up allowing only five hits and no walks, but winning pitcher Rabin gave up only three hits. Two of those hits came to one of Elgin’s hottest hitters, first baseman Monica Stockman. But after a first-inning double and fourth-inning single, Stockman left the game with a knee injury after stumbling while getting caught in a rundown between second and third.
“She’s been doing a great job in the two hole for us, laying down bunts, hitting well, hitting over .300,” Dahlman said of Stockman, who had been playing with a partial ligament tear. “Hopefully it’s not as bad as it looks.”
Rabin (8-4) struck out eight and walked one. Elgin (16-10, 9-6) got runners as far as third only in the first and sixth innings in losing for the second time to Rabin this season.
“I thought Sabrina did a great job of hitting the spots and not letting certain players beat us,” Poulin said. “We wanted to go at some players and we wanted to not allow a couple of those girls in that lineup to be the ones who kept the game close or beat us.”
The win pushed St. Charles North (15-11, 11-3) another step closer to an Upstate Eight River title. The Stars are three games up in the loss column with five games remaining.
“That’s one thing we talked about before the game, was I don’t know when the last time was Elgin was competing for a conference championship,” Dahlman said. “And I told them we were right there if we get a ‘W.’”
Instead, it’s North that is right there with games left against Streamwood, Larkin, Batavia, and St. Charles East twice.