Losing to St. Charles North on Monday bothered the Bartlett softball team more than the Hawks may have let on at the time.
So the last two days they've gone out and done something about it.
A day after beating Neuqua Valley 3-2, Bartlett senior Callie Dennison spun a 5-hitter in one of her better outings of the season and the Hawks took advantage of their opportunities offensively Wednesday to come away with a 7-2 Upstate Eight Conference win at Lake Park, sweeping the UEC season series from the Lancers in the process.
The win jumps the Hawks (17-7, 11-3) into second place in the UEC by percentage points over Lake Park (20-6, 10-3). Each team remains 2 games behind St. Charles North in the loss column. The North Stars downed South Elgin 4-0 Wednesday.
"Ever since we lost to St. Charles North we decided we couldn't let that one game define us as a team," said Dennison, who struck out four and didn't walk anyone in running her record to 16-5. "Lake Park is in our sectional so this was a big game."
Bartlett scored twice in the top of the first inning without a hit. Lake Park ace Angie Bates (11-4) hit Dennison with the first pitch of the game then walked Lisa Palmer before wild pitching the runners to second and third. Dennison scored on Lisa Matsie's groundout and Palmer scooted home on another wild pitch.
"If you're going to make every mistake in the book against a team like that ... well, give them an inch and they'll take a mile," said Lake Park coach Tom Mazzie, whose club has now lost to Naperville Central, Elk Grove and Bartlett since last Friday.
The Hawks added a run in the third when No. 9 hitter Chelsea Klein doubled on Bates' first pitch of the inning and Dennison drove her in with another double. Bartlett made it a 4-0 game in the sixth as Kelsey Warrick's two-out single drove home Nicole Beck, who had doubled with one out.
And, through five innings, Dennison allowed Lake Park nothing. The Lancers had just 4 hits going into the bottom of the sixth, but they did squander chances to score in the second, third and fourth.
With runners at second and third and two outs in the second, Dennison got Chelsea Gieseke to ground out to third to end the threat. In the third, Kelly Mieszala singled and took second on a groundout. But Bartlett center fielder Lauren Chuchvara then fired a strike to the plate on Samantha Becker's two-out single to nail the speedy Mieszala and end the inning.
Then, in the fourth, Vanessa Wegner singled and courtesy runner Diane Denson advanced to third via a groundout and an error on a grounder off the bat of Chelsea Henshaw. But then, when Henshaw took off to steal second, Bartlett executed a perfect throw from Matsie to second baseman Palmer, who threw to third and got Denson in a rundown for the third out.
"It was definitely a team win," Dennison said. "My pitching, our defense, Lisa's catching and our bats all came together today."
Lake Park got back into the game in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Bartlett made an error on Becker's catchable fly ball and junior Sarah Koch delivered a 2-run blast to right-center to make it 4-2.
But Bartlett came back in the top of the seventh with a 3-spot that was highlighted by Katie Popovich's 2-run double, her second 2-run double in two days.
"It was a good solid win,"said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. "Give Callie a ton of credit. That's two days in a row against real good hitting teams and she didn't allow many solid hits. She kept them off balance today.
"I liked our approach at the plate. We stole a couple runs early and I was really impressed by the girls that when (Lake Park) got that home run we came right back in the seventh and got three. That made it a whole different ballgame."
Bates allowed 7 hits while striking out three and walking three for the Lancers.
"I felt like we were on Dennison and hit it hard but they made the plays," Mazzie said. "We talked about our approach. Right now our approach is not very good. A game like this, you gotta want to take it and we didn't want to take it.
"But hat's off to Bartlett. They did the right things and we didn't."