The members of the Geneva and Wheaton North softball teams were hardly on vacation Thursday.
After a wildly unpredictable day, the teams ultimately split their Spring Break doubleheader in what was supposed to be in Wheaton but was switched to the Vikings' home field in Geneva.
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The first game was delayed nearly 90 minutes to prep the field, and the nightcap took a most unexpected turn when Geneva rallied for 5 runs in the seventh inning to force extra innings.
In the end, however, Wheaton North junior Kat Meyer returned a favor the Vikings' Kirsten Searcy inflicted on the Falcons in the opener.
Wheaton North led for virtually the entire first game after parlaying a lone single into a 4-run first inning.
But Geneva stormed back with 4 runs in the top of the sixth, but the Vikings were down to their last bullet when Searcy strode to the plate with two outs in the seventh and a runner on second.
Wheaton North was nursing a 1-run lead.
But it vanished in a heartbeat as Searcy, who had a 2-run ringing double in her previous at-bat, nearly hit the scoreboard beyond the left-field fence with a towering home run.
Haley Orwig then stranded a Wheaton North runner on second base in the Falcons' seventh to preserve the Vikings' 8-7 victory.
"I was used to the speed (of the Wheaton North starter) as it was my fifth at-bat (of the game)," Searcy said. "I knew it was coming. I was ready to get a good hit, and it just happened to go far."
It was the last of six extra-base hits for Geneva batters, while Wheaton North was only able to piece together 7 total singles.
But the Falcons' aggressive baserunning, combined with early Geneva defensive breakdowns, enabled the team to take a 5-2 lead after two innings.
To make matters worse for Geneva, Wheaton North starter Amanda Mordacq stranded 6 runners in scoring position -- including the bases loaded in both the second and third -- the first three innings.
"I figured we would get some runs eventually," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "We weren't very sharp defensively early in the game."
But the Vikings' fortunes changed dramatically in their half of the sixth inning.
Jenelle Reilly, Anna Geary and Bridget Weitzel reached in succession to load the bases, and the subsequent Searcy shot to the gap in left-center plated the first two runners.
Weitzel later tied the game on an errant pickoff attempt, and Searcy gave Geneva its first lead at 6-5 when Emily Plocinski singled up the middle with two outs.
But Wheaton North came right back, once again capitalizing without the benefit of a run-scoring base hit; Hannah Nielsen and Nickey Kent scored on back-to-back groundouts to take the lead back.
But Searcy, with Geary on second with a one-out double, hit a titanic blast to left.
"I thought about (intentionally walking Searcy)," Wheaton North coach Emily Johnson said. "But she had three pop-ups (her first three at-bats)."
Meyer, though, ensured a split for Wheaton North (1-2) with a walkoff home run of her own in the bottom of the ninth of Game 2 to give the Falcons a 13-11 win over Geneva (2-1).
There were a combined 24 runs, 34 hits and 8 errors in Game 2.
"It was a long day, and I wanted it to be over," Meyer said of her epic blast of center field. "We knew we were down (after the Geneva rally). We were in it to win it."