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updated: 5/4/2012 11:58 PM

Athletic effort helps Warren to victory

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Anna Balch's "cartwheel" across home plate in the Warren second was trumped by Alex Weidner's actual cartwheel across home plate in the Waukegan sixth.

"I said if I ever hit a home run I was going to do a cartwheel," Weidner said Friday night under the lights at Dugdale Park in Waukegan, where she and her teammates, despite her first homer, fell to visiting Warren 11-6 in a nonconference game. "So I did."

If judged, Weidner's gymnastics would have earned more style points than Balch's flip, which was unintentional and potentially dangerous.

"It's the second time I've done that," the 5-foot-11 Balch, a first-year transfer from Evanston, said of her skate across home that was caused by her metal spikes, after she had raced home from second base on a single. "I did it last year, too."

Balch tumbled awkwardly and hit her head on the dirt. With her batting helmet and cage concealing her face, it was hard to tell whether the junior was laughing or crying.

"A little bit of both," Balch said.

Balch stayed in the game and wound up going 3-for-4 with a booming RBI triple, and Warren earned what ultimately mattered most -- not style points, but rather a win.

"This girl has the highest pain tolerance," Warren coach Carri McGahan said of Balch. "She's right up there with Sarah Clauser (former Warren shortstop)."

The Blue Devils had 6 extra-base hits, including a late 3-run homer by Megan Sowa, and their triumph hiked their record to 24-4-1. Waukegan, which pounded out 12 hits, including a pair of home runs, fell to 5-15.

"I was very pleased with the way they hit the ball," coach Windell Piercy II said of his Bulldogs. "Warren is a fantastic team."

The Blue Devils had built a 6-1 lead on the strength of a 2-run single by winning pitcher Jessica Demski in the second, an RBI single by Sam Belletini and Balch's run-scoring triple in a 3-run fifth and back-to-back doubles by Sowa and Jill Fox in the sixth.

With one on and one out in the bottom of the sixth, Weidner, Waukegan's senior third baseman, hit a long home run over the fence in left.

Just before she reached home, Weidner executed her cartwheel, landed on the plate and was mobbed by teammates.

"She deserved to get ejected," Piercy said of his player. "We're just lucky she didn't. The third-base umpire was steaming at the ears. He wanted to pull the trigger on her. She just got excited."

Weidner, who was given a warning for excessive celebration, meant no disrespect.

It was her first high school home run, and it came on senior night in front of a good-sized crowd. The festive atmosphere included balloons, a PA announcer and a big homemade sign for seniors Weidner, Cianna Frieson, Amber Dimitroff and Jacklie Gomez. Frieson led off the Waukegan first by hitting her first home run, a shot over the fence in center.

Weidner couldn't contain her excitement when she hit her homer.

"I had to go out with a bang," said Weidner, who also had a single. "I never thought I would do it (hit a home run)."

Warren didn't sweat it.

"It really didn't affect us that much," Balch said.

Demski (double, 3 RBI), Sowa, Fox, Amy Ricci and Lisiann Rodriguez (double) had 2-hits each for Warren. Kelly Majewski walked twice and lifted a sacrifice fly.

Benita Bones (3-for-4) and starting pitcher Melissa Anderson (2-for-4) each had a double for Waukegan. Like Bones, Hannah Thompson was 3-for-4 for the home team.

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