Waubonsie Valley blanks Batavia
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It might not be much consolation for Batavia, but Waubonsie Valley softball coach Aly Kelley can relate to exactly what the Bulldogs are going through so far in the 2013 season.
"Batavia has some good hitters, they are just struggling with pitching this year and we understand that," Keller said. "We were in that same position three years ago. We know exactly how it feels."
The Warriors, though, haven't had any pitching problems since Shannon Hohman stepped into the circle last year as a freshman, and they certainly didn't Friday afternoon in Batavia.
Hohman tossed 3 hitless innings before turning things over to Jordan Kurth who finished up the 1-hit shutout with a pair of scoreless innings. Waubonsie Valley's offense did the rest with a 16-hit attack for a 15-0 victory in five innings.
Hohman struck out the side in the first two innings and finished with 7 strikeouts. Kurth added 3 strikeouts — a Katie Ryan single in the fourth inning turned out to be Batavia's only hit.
"She's really good," Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said of Hohman. "In my opinion she's one of the better pitchers in the area if not the best. She'll be one of the better pitchers we see all year."
Waubonsie Valley (7-2, 2-1 in the Upstate Eight) jumped on Batavia early. After junior Nicole Peercy retired the first two hitters, Amanda Mihahan singled, stole second and scored on a Hohman single. Melaina Koulos later singled in Hohman.
The Warriors scored four more runs in the second and three in the fourth to build leads of 6-0 and 9-0. Mihahan and Hohman ripped back-to-back 2-run doubles in the second, and those two both singled in the fourth-inning rally.
Mihahan finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and 4 runs, and Hohman was 3-for-3 with 3 RBI.
"I've got to give them a lot of credit," Castellanos said. "They hit the ball hard. Our pitchers made a couple walks but for the most part they hit the ball very hard to score their runs."
In the fifth inning against Ryan in relief, Meghan Grannan batted for Hohman and stroked a 2-run triple before Koulos capped her big day with a 2-run home run that soared high over the right field fence.
Coming off an injury to her left knee she suffered in August playing for the Naperville Diamonds, Koulos is glad to see her power returning after a long rehab to get back on the field. She was 3-for-4 Friday with her homer and 3 RBI.
"My first few games back in Tennessee it took me a little while to get going," Koulos said. "Those first few games weren't what I was hoping for. It felt good to get this home run under my belt, finally get my power back."
Eight of Waubonsie Valley's starters had at least 1 hit as the Warriors bounced back from a loss to St. Charles North Wednesday.
"The kids did a good job adjusting (to the pitcher's speed)," Kelley said. "We're getting much better at timing. We had a tough loss against St. Charles North that kind of stayed with us and we took our frustration out on Batavia."
Batavia (1-5, 0-3) is fielding one of the youngest teams around. The Bulldogs started four juniors, three sophomores and a freshmen Friday — a starting lineup missing two returnees Sami Villarreal and Ryan Rokos though Villarreal did enter the game later.
"It's just a learning process," Castellanos said. "We try to learn from the mistakes we make in games and come back and improve for the next game. I feel every game we are improving."
Batavia hosts Kaneland at 10 a.m. Saturday.
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