Blaine Carragher and St. Francis were champing at the bit to play Wednesday, considering they'd only had two games in the mild March weather.
The Spartans sure looked ready to go.
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St. Francis jumped on Addison Trail for 6 runs in the top of the first in Addison and rode that big inning to a 12-6 win.
The Spartans (3-0) batted around in the first inning, aided by three Blazers errors and a leadoff walk. St. Francis' first six batters reached, with run-scoring singles from Alyssa Fernandez and Lauren Rzeszutko and a two-run single by winning pitcher Maggie Remus.
"We were all ready to get out there," Carragher said. "We're excited to play these games. Usually we have trouble getting them in."
Senior catcher Carragher, who was 2-for-3 Wednesday and drove in 2 runs, is one of just three returning starters from a 27-win team last year. She looks at the younger Spartans' energy as a positive, though.
"It's not really a challenge," she said. "It's more exciting that we're able to see new players."
One of those new Spartans is freshman Carley Pasquale, the younger sister of Loyola-bound senior third baseman Brie Pasquale. If Wednesday is any indication, good hitting runs in the genes.
Pasquale's line-drive double in the second scored Carragher, and her gapper double in the fourth drove home her sister to make it 11-2.
"Today was the first day Carley really looked comfortable up there," St. Francis coach Ralph Remus said. "She may be working her way up to leadoff because she's a perfect leadoff hitter."
St. Francis pounded out 11 hits, Brie Pasquale adding 2, but it is the Spartans' defense that coach Remus has mentioned as a potential strength.
On Wednesday the Spartans played error-free behind Maggie Remus (3-0). First-year shortstop Fernandez looked very smooth and Danielle Vitagliano made a diving catch in left with two on and two out in the sixth.
"I was really pleased with our defense," coach Remus said. "There were a couple balls I felt we coulda got to, but this infield is so fast and we weren't used to it. It was a clean game, and Blaine called a great game behind the plate."
Addison Trail (0-5) dug itself a difficult early hole to get out of, but it did show resolve.
The Blazers got back two runs in the bottom of the first. Trailing 12-2 with two out in the fifth, Isa Tangora and Arianne Hawkins singled, and Morgan Pirtle walked. Tina Giralamo then drove an opposite-field grand slam to right, preventing a run-rule finish.
No. 9 hitter Tangora had 3 singles and Hawkins and Pirtle each reached base twice for Addison Trail.
"My girls, they do rally and support each other," Blazers coach Sabrina Macek said. "They battled back, but like we said in the huddle you have to turn it on from inning one and you have to catch every ball. It starts there."