Conant's softball players were not happy with a homefield doubleheader loss to Lake Park on Saturday.
"That (15-5 and 11-3 losses) has never happened to us," said Cougars senior all-area catcher Miranda Cavin. "We knew (Monday) we had to pick it up and stay focused the whole game."
The Cougars' game was back to normal on Monday in the Mid-Suburban League, where they are the two-time defending champs.
They kicked off their 2013 campaign with a 15-1 victory at Rolling Meadows as freshman Kali Schumacher threw a 5-hitter with 3 strikeouts for her third win in four decisions.
Cavin's sister Briana was the Cougars' all-area ace the last four seasons.
"It's different (catching Schumacher)," said Miranda, who drew 2 walks and stole two bases with head-first slides. "But it's fun."
Cougars coach Cathyann Smith likes the way Miranda Cavin is handling the rookie right-hander.
"It's an adjustment for Miranda and she has been a good leader for Kali," said Smith, whose team is 4-2 and 1-0 in the MSL West. "She knows how to keep her calm. And Kali knows she can depend on Miranda's leadership."
Grace Skorin's line drive single to left in the second inning was the only hit off Schumacher until a single to left by Chloe Prodanovic in the fifth.
"The first couple of games I was nervous," admitted Schumacher (3-1), who like the Cavins also attended Mead Junior High in Elk Grove. "But now I'm OK. I know Miranda is there to help me with all my pitches."
The Cougars' offense also gave Schumacher plenty of help, collecting 16 hits.
Leading the way were Sarah Thompson (3-for-5, double), Elisa Ambrose (2-for-5, triple, 3 RBI), Rachel O'Malley (2-for-5, 2 doubles, 4 RBI), Telly Hunter (3-for-3, double, 2 RBI), Alissa Wachal (3-for-5, double, RBI) and DeeDee Durr (2-for-4, 2 RBI).
Teammate Hailey Rothstein also had a hit, leading off the Cougars' 6-run seventh inning with a single to right.
"It was a very nice start to our conference season," Smith said. "The girls were not in school (Monday) because of an institute day but they still got together as a team earlier in the day.
"They area always doing things together as a team. It's a young team sprinkled with a few senior leaders. They are coming together."
The Mustangs (4-3, 0-1 in the MSL East) scored their run in the bottom of the seventh when third baseman Skorin (2-for-3) doubled to left center and scored on Lane Winkler's two-out single to left.
"Give them (Conant) credit," said Rolling Meadows coach Tony Wolanski. "They made the plays, and we didn't. They took advantage of our mistakes. We'll bounce back. It's just one game."