Wauconda hangs with Marengo in Rosemont Dome
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With Old Man Winter stubbornly refusing to release his icy grip on the area, playing softball or any other sport outdoors has been impossible this March.
The Wauconda girls softball team decided that if you can't beat Mother Nature, then move indoors.
The Bulldogs enjoyed climate-controlled conditions under The Dome at the Ballpark in Rosemont on Friday afternoon — but Marengo spoiled the outcome with a 5-2 season-opening victory.
"It was a day under a 75-degree sun, maybe cloudy but beautiful conditions," said Wauconda coach Tim Rennels. "It wasn't a factor in the ballgame. Neither team got a chance to get on the field before today.
"Marengo coach Dwain Nance came up with the idea. He called us over and said that the facilities were available. We would take on anything even in somebody's garage, if we had a chance."
The Bulldogs stayed right with the powerhouse Indians, who won the IHSA Class 3A state championship two years ago and were runners-up last spring.
"I thought we played with them and maybe left a win on the field," Rennels said. "We had a few mistakes that can make us a little more like winners then contenders. Both freshmen (Kayla Wedl and Brooke Sefcik) can hold their heads up and played huge roles in the game, and our seniors did a great job. We just have to tweak a few things."
Marengo jumped out with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to a couple of squeeze bunts and a throwing error.
The Bulldogs tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Sefcik smashed an opposite-field triple that fell inside the right-field line and brought home Kennedy Wright and Alex Kinnamon.
"I've been working hard on my hitting in practice," Sefcik said. "I knew that we needed to get the runs. I really thought it would go foul, but it really lifted our team up."
The Bulldogs' next hitter was Kinnamon, and she ripped a liner that second baseman Taylor Carlson snared out of mid-air to strand Sefcik at third.
The Indians regained a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning when Veronica Ruellius delivered an RBI single. Marengo added a pair of runs in the seventh behind RBI singles from Stephanie Cartwright and Bethany Hart.
Wedl struck out four batters and walked two in 7 innings.
"It was nerve-wracking with the first game and the first time pitching," Wedl said.
"I got over my nerves saying that I've pitched before in nationals and travel ball. Our team played pretty good. I was scared at first, because I thought their hitters would be bobbing them out.
"Wauconda was a real good team," Nance said. "That pitcher (Wedl) is going to win a lot of ballgames. She's good for a freshman. We saw her in the summertime. I knew that this would be a battle offensively for us. She hit her spots, got ahead of us and every batter was down. We had to hang on for a while and we were able to get some runs late. We might see this team again in sectional play. You never know."
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