There have been plenty of other wins, even shutouts this spring for that matter. But Thursday's effort felt especially nice to Waubonsie Valley sophomore Shannon Hohman.
The Warriors hurler struck out 10 hitters while allowing just six scattered singles in a 5-0 victory at Naperville North. Waubonsie Valley (14-3) took command with a four-run third inning and Hohman saw to it that the Huskies never really threatened.
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"I felt good out there. We were expecting a good-hitting team and we were ready," said Hohman, who improved to 11-3 on the year with her fifth shutout. "I was mentally prepared this whole week. It's the first time I've ever faced them."
While Hohman was sharp and ready to go on the mound, shortstop Amanda Minahan had her bat ready to roll at Naperville North. Minahan went 3-for-4 with three extra-base hits, including an RBI triple in the big third inning.
"Today the offense was there 100 percent," said Hohman, who drove home Minahan with a single in the third that made the score 3-0. "We were well aware that North went far in the playoffs last year, and this was a big confidence boost for me to come in and kind of shut them down."
Naperville North, which had a shutout win of its own the day before against West Aurora, dropped to 8-4 on the year after pitcher Sam Flerage suffered the nonconference loss at home. Coach Jerry Kedziora said afterward that his players just didn't seem prepared for the game.
"Some of our mental mistakes were not typical of how we've been playing as a team," said Kedziora, noting that the Huskies were not at their best in the field or at the plate, where six of the punch-outs by Hohman came while looking at third strikes. "They took advantage of us not being ready to play."
In the decisive third inning Jordan Kurth walked and scored and Christina Pembrook singled and scored as the Warriors sent eight batters to plate and recorded four hits, a walk and a sacrifice bunt.
Waubonsie Valley coach Aly Kelley has grown accustomed to seeing Hohman toss solid games, but blanking a solid Naperville North squad was still impressive.
"She's stayed consistent even though we haven't been able to consistently play. She throws hard and doesn't mind the cold weather."
After rainouts and scheduling conflicts have kept the two rivals from squaring off the last couple years, Kelley was glad her team was able to face the Huskies on Thursday.
"They're a quality team and that's a quality win for us," she said. "Competition wise that's what I like to see."