Waubonsie Valley played five softball games Saturday in Tennessee, then sat in a bus for a nine-hour ride back to Illinois on Sunday.
Plainfield Central provided a rude welcome home Monday.
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Kaleigh Nagle and Hannah Franceschini homered early, Nagle kept the Waubonsie bats at bay for five innings and Plainfield Central beat the No. 8 Warriors 7-2 on a frigid afternoon in Aurora.
"A little bounce back from the weekend," Waubonsie coach Aly Kelley said. "Long day Saturday, long bus ride Sunday and I don't think we fully recovered from it. We're a mentally strong team. We have to bounce back."
Plainfield Central (3-1), which beat Waubonsie (5-1) in a regional final last year en route to a supersectional berth, wasted no time jumping on Warriors pitcher Shannon Hohman.
Nagle lined a single to start the game and came around to score on a groundout.
Sophomore Hannah Franceschini hit the first pitch Hohman threw in the second inning for an opposite-field homer to right, and after two walks Nagle went to right field for a 3-run shot and 5-0 lead.
"She's a good pitcher, and she provides the power," Plainfield Central coach Anne Campbell said. "If you get a good bat on the ball it's going to go with her speed. We did a nice job attacking right off the bat."
Kelley relieved Hohman after two innings, going with Jordan Kurth. Kelley brushed off a suggestion of arm fatigue after Saturday's long day.
"I asked Shannon before the game, 'Do you want me to start somebody else' and she told me her arm felt good," Kelley said. "She just wasn't there today. Stuff was coming across belt high. When she's low in the zone, that's when she throws well."
Nagle and Hohman, travel teammates during the summer, are no strangers.
"We're pretty good friends," said Nagle, whose homer was her second in three days. "It's definitely a motivation when I'm facing her. She's a good pitcher."
Nagle, committed to UIC as a shortstop, doesn't pitch in summer ball and won't in college. But she was in command most of the way Monday. Nagle, one of five returning starters for Plainfield Central, allowed just 2 hits over the first five innings until Waubonsie's bats warmed up.
Amanda Lack started a string of four straight Waubonsie singles to start the sixth, scoring on Hohman's slow roller to make it 5-1. Nagle escaped further damage, though, leaving the bases loaded.
Amanda Minahan, who continued her torrid early-season hitting with 3 hits, singled in Lack in the seventh. Seven of Waubonsie's 9 hits came over the last two innings.
"The pitching in Tennessee, it wasn't so good," Kelley said, "but it shouldn't take the whole game to adjust to the pitcher. That's a thing we talked about, is that it takes us too long to start hitting. We know we're going to score, but we need to start earlier."
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