The defending Mid-Suburban League softball champs kicked off what they're hoping is another big season on Saturday morning in Hoffman Estates.
And the Conant Cougars got a big day from Wisconsin-Green Bay bound Briana Cavin.
The senior hurler threw a 1-hitter with 16 strikeouts to defeat Oswego East 10-0 in 5 innings in Game 1, then came back as a reliever to get the 9-8 win in Game 2 while also driving in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth with a double.
"It was a great start to the season," said Cougars coach CathyAnn Smith. "Bri and Miranda Cavin were in synch and we came out ready to score first."
The Cougars put up 9 runs in the first inning, including a grand slam by sophomore Telly Hunter in her varsity debut.
The Cougars won by the 10-run rule in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Miranda Cavin had a one-out single and went to third on Kim Jacobson's double.
Sarah Thompson's sacrifice fly to center drove in Miranda Cavin for the tenth run.
Briana Cavin (1-for-3, 3 RBI) also had a homer in the first inning.
Other top hitters for the Cougars were Miranda Cavin (2-for-4, double RBI) and Barb Linderman (double).
Shannon O'Connor went the first 6 innings in Game 2, striking out six before Briana Cavin (1-for-2) struck out eight in the final 2 innings for the win when she doubled home sophomore Rachel O'Malley.
Hunter belted a 2-run homer in the game.
Other top hitters for Conant were Miranda Cavin (2-for-5, double RBI), Kim Jacobson (2-for-5, home run), Elisa Ambrose (2-for-5, double) and O'Malley (2-for-3, 2 walks), who doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth.
"We mixed up the positions a bit and the girls responded well," Smith said. "I was really proud of how they continued to work offensively even after Oswego East came back to tie (from 6-2 deficit)."
Oswego East coach Danielle Finke-Lee played for Smith at Conant in the early 2000s.
Finke-Lee is pregnant and expecting a son on April 9.
In quite a coincidence, when Finke-Lee played softball at Conant, Smith had her first son Garrett on April 9, 2001.
Elk Grove wins two: The defending Mid-Suburban East champion won both of its games when it opened its season Saturday at the Barrington quad.
Senior Dani Goranson struck out nine and walked one while throwing a 7-hitter to defeated Mundelein 7-2.
Devan Parkison (3-for-4, 2 runs), Megan Keegan (2-for-3, double, 1 run), Carly Danek (2-for-4, double, 2 runs), Becca Maher (double) and Elisa Payne (2-for-3) led the Grens' offense.
In Game 2, Andrea Starr was indeed the star, throwing a 3-hitter while going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. She struck out five and walked one in the 5-inning win.
Keegan (2-for-4) belted a homer and doubled for the Grens.
Other top hitters were Parkison (2-for-3, 2 RBI), Krista Soesbe (2-for-3, 2 runs), Payne (2-for-2, 2 RBI), Carly Danek (double) and Becca Walz (double).
Palatine sweeps Evanston: The Pirates (4-1) posted 11-0 and 9-3 victories as junior Megan Hedstrom (2-1) threw a 1-hitter in the opener with 12 strikeouts.
Hedstrom also sparkled with her bat, going 2-for-3 with 2 doubles, 3 RBI and 2 runs. Other top Pirates at the plate were Lauren Logan (1-for-3, triple, 3 RBI, 2 Runs), Tori Walzak (1-for-1, walk, 2 Runs, RBI), Kayla Borgan (2-for-3, 1 run) and Kaileigh Moertl (2-for-3, triple, RBI, 1 run).
In Game 2, sophomore Jules Udoni (2-0) went 5 innings, allowing 6 hits with 3 strikeouts to notch the win. Hedstrom did not allow a run or hit in the final 1 innings for the save as she struck out four.
Grace Rohrwasser (1-for-3, 1 run, 1 RBI), Lauren Logan (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 doubles, 1 RBI), Hedstrom (2-for-4, 1 run, 2 RBI, 1 double), Jamie Haze (2-for-4, RBI) and Kristen Rossi (1-for-2, 2 RBI, 1 double) led the Pirates' offense.
Prospect sweeps Niles North: Prospect (2-1) earned its first two wins of the season with 13-2 (6 innings) and 9-3 decisions in Skokie.
In Game 1, Hanna Lythberg (1-1) allowed 4 hits while striking out five. The senior right-hander allowed only one base runner (third-inning walk) until the fifth inning.
Amy Graham (3-for-4, 2 runs, RBI), Julie Mazur (2-for-4, 2 runs, RBI), Lythberg (2-for-5, 3 RBI) and Michele Molini (double) led the Knights' offense.
In Game 2, Knights pitcher Jill Sadowski notched the win.
Prospect jumped out to an 8-0 lead after three innings.
With one out in the first inning, Meghan Doyle (2-for-3) singled and Lythberg (2-for-3, 2 doubles) and Michele Molini (1-for-4) hit back-to-back doubles for a 3-0 lead.
The Knights added 3 more in the second when Graham (1-for-3) led off with a single.
Julie Mazur walked and Lythberg doubled again.
Molini also had another double in the game.
For the day, Lythberg was 4-for-8 with 2 doubles, 3 runs and 6 RBI while Graham went 4-for-7.