Crystal Lake South softball coach Scott Busam was joking.
Really, he was.
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Busam told Gators' junior Sam McLean before Monday's Fox Valley Conference Valley Division game at Cary-Grove to hit a home run. McLean is South's leadoff hitter and had never hit a home run in a high school softball game.
"I told her 'Sam I really need you to hit a home run today'. But I was teasing her. Really, I was," Busam smiled.
But like any good athlete, McLean did as her coach told her. She launched her first home run over the center field fence, a 2-run shot in the top of the fifth inning, and sophomore right-hander Hailee Massie fired a 2-hitter as the Gators beat Cary-Grove 2-1. It's South's first win over C-G since 2010.
"(Busam) was putting thoughts in my head," laughed McLean. "But we've been working really hard on waiting back on the ball and driving it. (Cary-Grove) is always the best team and we wanted to prove we could be better."
Cary-Grove (12-2, 2-1) was able to touch Massie (5-3) for an unearned run in the third to take a 1-0 lead. Sarah Leudo walked, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Jamie Deering's double to the left-field corner.
But that's all Massie allowed the Trojans. She struck out 5 and walked 4. She got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning with 2 strikeouts and left Deering stranded at second in the third with an inning-ending strikeout. She retired the final seven Cary-Grove batters in order.
"I felt like I was hitting my spots pretty good today," said Massie, who also had a double in the win. "They're really good hitters so I have to hit my spots with them."
"She's in shape, she works hard and she's hard on herself," Busam said of Massie. "I don't have to say anything to her. She's figuring the game out and I have to give our catcher, Caitlin Fater, a lot of credit too. I didn't call one pitch today. The softball IQ is going up."
Cary-Grove junior Lauren Stanley also pitched well, with the exception of the one pitch to McLean. Stanley allowed just 5 hits and had 9 strikeouts with 3 walks.
Stanley walked Taylor Doppke to lead off the top of the fifth but after 2 strikeouts, McLean cranked her home run to give the Gators the 2-1 lead.
The Gators (10-4, 2-3) also played an errorless game on defense.
"It was a good rebound; a good win for us, especially after Saturday," Busam said. "Our defense is one of the strengths of our team. They knew we weren't going to score 8-9 runs today and they did a good job."
Kimmy Woods added 2 hits for CL South.
"We had some chances early," said Cary-Grove coach Tammy Olson. "When you get people on you have to drive them in. We just didn't hit today. We have to hit and stop swinging for the fences."