For the West Chicago and Batavia softball teams the seemingly endless cascade of cancellations finally came to an end on Tuesday.
When it comes to dictums regarding the twin sports played colloquially on a diamond with nine performers each: there is one in particular for which gender makes no difference. Walks kill.
In the Wildcats' first at-bat Tuesday morning in Batavia as part of the teams' season opener, the first three West Chicago batters reached via a base on balls.
Tatiana Rich, Ellie Braun and Christin Zaputil all later scored as part of the Wildcats' 4-run first inning, and West Chicago hurler Amy Goldsmith was the antithesis of the Bulldogs' wildness.
The sophomore right-hander, making her varsity debut, did not allow a walk while striking out 15 Batavia batters during the Wildcats' 12-3 victory.
In the nightcap, Batavia senior Selena Kweder capped a heroic 7-run seventh inning with a run-scoring single to give the Bulldogs a split with the 12-11 triumph.
"Moving back and forth with the pitches really helped," Goldsmith said. "It was hard for (the Batavia batters) to keep up with the pitches. It was my first official start on varsity. On cold days like this it helps to jam (the batters)."
West Chicago (1-1) led the nonconference game 6-0 after the first two innings as the Wildcats scored in a myriad of fashions.
Amanda Gosbeth had the distinction of the first run driven on the season for West Chicago with her sacrifice fly in the first inning, and Bri Hofman picked up the Wildcats' first base hit of the season with her run-scoring single.
In a scenario that was to plague Batavia for the remainder of the game, Zaputil scored on a groundout and Hofman later tallied on a wild pitch.
The Wildcats were collectively somewhere between naughty and felonious with their base-stealing on the day.
"We didn't exactly hit the tar out of the ball, but we have speed," West Chicago coach Kim Wallner said of the Wildcats' opportunistic offense. "This team is a work in progress."
Despite their proclivity for making right turns back to the dugout, Batavia did showcase a consistent offensive attack.
Batavia (1-1) had hits in each of the first five innings, and the Bulldogs' Katie Ryan made the most of a second opportunity.
The Dayton-bound center fielder, with Alex Scaccia and Erin Costigan aboard after one-out third inning singles, Ryan appeared to have a fruitless at-bat with a sky-high foul pop.
"I was happy, probably should have been out," Ryan said after the Wildcats failed to corral her pop up. "The sun was in the right spot."
On the following pitch, Ryan made West Chicago pay, rifling a lined shot over the left-center field fence for a 3-run homer.
But it would be all Batavia would muster against Goldsmith, who also had the Wildcats' lone extra-base hit with her run-scoring double in their 2-run seventh.
"We had a couple plays here and there that if we had made, the game would have been a lot closer," first-year Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said of a muffed fly ball and wild pitch-bad throw sequence that cost the Bulldogs 4 runs.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.