The Lake Zurich softball players started Friday's nonconference game by watching a ball hit by Fremd leadoff batter Julie Josten sail over the right field fence for a home run.
But not to worry.
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"We are really a confident team," said Bears three-year varsity veteran Mallory Parsons. "That didn't faze us. Teams will score runs on us but we know we've just got to get it back with our bats."
That sure was the case when the host Bears made up the 1-0 deficit with 4 runs in the bottom of the first and went on to post a 6-3 triumph over the Vikings (3-1).
Lake Zurich (5-2) scored all 6 of its runs in the first two innings, and Parson's bat played a major role.
The first baseman singled up the middle to drive home Katie Brown (leadoff single to right) with one out in the first inning.
In the second, Parsons drove in 2 runs with another single to center, this time with two outs. Maddie Minneci (2-for-3) and Maria Schroeder, who had both singled after two outs, crossed the plate on Parsons' second hit of the game.
"One of our team goals is getting runners in scoring position," added Parsons, who was 2-for-3 with 3 RBI. "It motivates me when I know my teammates have gotten on base ahead of me because I know l've got to get them home."
Brown, Schroeder, Parsons and McKenna Larson (single to left) all got home in the first.
Kaylee Grant belted a 2-run double to left and Caty Grahf followed with an RBI groundout to Fremd second baseman Tracy Welninski to give junior ace Olivia Schneider (4-2) a 4-1 cushion. The Bears' left-hander finished with a 7-hitter and 4 strikeouts.
"After getting down after one batter, you always want to come back and answer in a big way," said Bears coach Michaela Towne. "And I thought we swung some big bats in the bottom half of the inning. I thought we swung the bats well the whole game.
"Fremd is always tough. We know they never back down and knew they would put the ball in play."
Vikings coach Jim Weaver had no problem with his team's offensive effort, which was led by sophomore Josten's 2-for-3 effort. In addition to the homer, she had an RBI double off the right field fence in the fourth inning which drove in Kayla Kaufman (2-for-3).
Kaufman had doubled to left with one out and freshman Alyssa Garcia (1-for-2) followed with a bunt single setting up Josten's at-bat.
Senior Ashlynne Schwantz' RBI groundout to short got the Vikes to within 6-3.
"I'm not worried offensively," Weaver said. "We hit the ball fine. Even our outs were hard-hit balls. The bottom line is that if we don't play better defense, we are going to struggle. We've got to focus more."
Starting pitcher Joanna Josten (1-1), a junior, did not allow a run from the third to sixth innings and senior Riley Zimmer pitched a scoreless seventh.
"I thought Joanna settled down and did a real nice job," Weaver said. "And Riley did a good job in her inning (1 strikeout)."
Vikings' all-area center fielder Mandi Matsumoto is currently sidelined with an injury to her shoulder, which she injured while making a diving catch in the Vikes' season opener against Glenbrook North.
"Fremd is a great team," Parsons said. "I remember beating them in the sectional my freshman season. We are always really motivated when we play them."