They've been playing like a perfect 10 for weeks now, but after a 10-0 win over Batavia Wednesday in St. Charles, the St. Charles East girls softball team is indeed a perfect 10.
The Saints (13-3, 7-2 in the Upstate Eight Conference) won their 10th game in a row, doing it in similar fashion to their excellent play all season. They got a great pitching performance from Haley Beno, who tossed a 2-hitter and struck out 10, their defense played stellar, and they bashed the ball up and down their lineup.
"From batter one to batter nine even the players who aren't batting at the time and are on the bench, there's no one who can't hit the ball," first baseman Kate Peterburs said.
Peterburs went 3-for-3 and was a home run away from hitting for the cycle. She also drove in four runs.
She had plenty of company with big days including Olivia Cheatham who blasted a 3-run home run in the Saints' 7-run second inning.
It was the first home run for Cheatham at any level of softball and came off her Wasco Diamonds travel teammate Allicia Mueller who threw low and inside right where Cheatham wanted the pitch.
"It was really crazy," Cheatham said. "I had no clue what she would throw me and she threw me the pitch I really like so I jumped on it and hoped it would go.
"All through the lineup we are all really strong. There is no weak hitter on our team."
Batavia (2-9, 1-6) got through the Saints in order in the first before a problem that has hurt the Bulldogs all year -- the big inning -- got to them again the second when 11 batters came to the plate.
Alex Latoria (2-for-3) opened the inning with a single and took third when Batavia threw away Katie Kolb's sacrifice bunt. Peterburs went the opposite way -- a theme on the day for the Saints -- for a line drive 2-run single.
Beno then singled setting up Cheatham's 3-run homer. RBI doubles from Olivia Lorenzini and Latoria capped the inning.
"I think we are doing a good job of seeing what the other team is doing and adjusting to it," Saints coach Kelly Horan said. "If a pitching coach is calling 90 percent outside we are going to look outside. I don't think it's anything tricky, I think it's a great job of my girls to realize what they are doing and take advantage of it."
"For all year it's been one inning we struggle in," Batavia coach Lupe Catellanos said. "If we can stay out of that one inning we are pretty competitive."
Beno made it 8-0 in the third with an RBI groundout after a leadoff triple from Peterburs who then set the stage for an early ending with a 2-run double in the fourth for a 10-0 lead.
"The two of those ladies (Peterburs and Cheatham) with how they have been swinging would be anybody's 2-3 hitter on any other team," Horan said of her No. 6 and No. 8 hitters. "I have them hiding down in my batting order because I have nine people producing. I'm pleasantly surprised with Cheatham. Kate is rock solid, a .400 hitter last season. I'm not surprised by that at all. One through nine we are solid."
After Mueller's leadoff single in the fifth, Beno ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts. She's now 8-2.
"She's been looking really good," Horan said. "I think she's one of those pitchers who have snuck on the scene and I think it's time to be noticed. Batavia, she's going to shut you down. Lake Park and Bartlett, she shut them down. It's about time someone starts to notice that. She's been lights out lately."
As good as the Saints lineup looks now, Horan said it will get even better next week with the return of Sarah Collalti, sidelined with a concussion.
Batavia, meanwhile, is off until next Monday when it hosts Geneva.
"I've got to give credit to Beno. She is a good pitcher," Catellanos said. "We didn't adjust very well but I think our offense will come around. Beno did a good job shutting our offense down.
"They (his players) keep practicing hard and we keep going back to the drawing board trying to improve."