Sam Schmidt emerged from Willowbrook’s postgame huddle holding a small mallet and explained why.
“We have a slogan this year, it’s called, ‘Bring the Hammer,’” the Warriors sophomore said. “That’s what this is for.”
Schmidt and her friends sure brought it Tuesday.
Schmidt went 4-for-4 with a homer, triple and 4 runs batted in, fellow sophomore Alyssa Ressinger was 4-for-5 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI, and Willowbrook pounded Glenbard West 13-2 in its season opener in Glen Ellyn.
“Everyone came out ready to play. It’s exciting,” Schmidt said. “We couldn’t wait to get out there finally.”
Willowbrook and coach Rachel Karos have good reason to be so eager.
The Warriors are coming off a 20-win season, and with a stable of sophomore hitters in Schmidt, Ressinger, Erin Sporer and leadoff girl Cheyenne Brunig behind senior Darian Pelsor, this has the makings of the best team in Villa Park in years.
“It’s that whole hitting is contagious thing,” Karos said. “My leadoff hitter, Cheyenne, did a great job getting us started, and we just went from there.”
Schmidt, a tall sophomore shortstop, fisted an RBI single in the first inning to score Brunig for an early 2-0 lead. Then, with one out in the third, Schmidt hit a two-strike laser over the fence in center.
“I knew it was out,” Schmidt said with a smile. “It felt good.”
Ressinger added a bases-clearing, 3-run double in the fourth for a 7-1 lead, Schmidt singled in a run in the sixth and Willowbrook poured it on with 5 more in the seventh, Schmidt tripling in a run.
Glenbard West’s No. 1 pitcher, Taylor Langtry, is dealing with a shoulder injury and only threw three innings of relief Tuesday.
Pitching wasn’t the Hilltoppers’ primary undoing, though.
Glenbard West (1-1) committed 6 errors behind three pitchers leading to 9 unearned runs, and Hilltoppers coach Mary McGrane didn’t mince any words afterward.
“We knew Willowbrook was a good team. Rachel’s done a great job there, definitely turned that program around,” McGrane said, “but we showed up today with no intensity, we didn’t play with any heart and we just kind of rolled over and died. We can’t do that. Our defense did not help our pitchers out today.”
Jacklyn Tyburk doubled in a run for Glenbard West in the third, but the Hilltoppers managed just 1 hit the rest of the way off Pelsor.
Willowbrook’s senior ace struck out four, three to end innings with runners on base. She also received nifty defense behind her, a Hilltoppers runner thrown out at the plate in the second and Olivia Domin flagging down a hard-hit fly ball to center in the fifth.
Delaney Pelsor and Brunig each added 2 hits for Willowbrook.
“Glenbard West is a very good team for us to beat to start the season,” Karos said. “I’m extremely proud of how my girls came out and competed today. They were excited to get going.”
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