Junior Andrea Beal went through her share of ups and downs in the early going of St. Charles North's softball season.
Through whatever struggles she endured, Beal said she always knew where to turn for support.
"My teammates have been great. Sabrina (Rabin) came up to me before my at-bat and told me it was my turn," Beal said.
"I was having trouble at the start of the year adjusting to varsity, the speed of the pitchers, and my teammates have all been very supportive the entire time."
Beal was one of several North Stars who had a big game Wednesday in a 12-3 victory over Geneva. She walked and scored in her first at-bat, then lined a single in her next at-bat with the bases loaded, and when the ball got past the Vikings' outfield all three runners scored and Beal reached third.
Beal capped her day with an RBI single, one of 14 hits as North Stars coach Tom Poulin was able to get everyone on his bench playing time. And Beal did her damage from the No. 9 spot in the order.
"One through nine we feel good about our lineup," Poulin said. "The bottom has been struggling a little but we know what they are capable of. It was good to see today in a game because we have seen that (in practice)."
St. Charles North (12-4, 8-2 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division) stayed in a tie with St. Charles East in the loss column for the River lead with the first of their two matchups coming up Monday.
"We're just trying to keep pace," Poulin said. "It's cliché but we're taking it one game at a time. They (St. Charles East) have been the best team in the area, one of the best teams in the state."
First baseman Abby Howlett echoed her coach's sentiments after going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Catcher Emily Brodner also had 3 hits.
The North Stars took a 2-0 lead in the first inning after their first two batters reached on Geneva errors. Howlett's double to deep center brought both of them in.
"We gave them a running start and they are too good to do that," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "We just can't get off to a physical start like that where we make a couple mistakes. We have to make the other team earn it more than that."
The North Stars added two more runs in the second. Kaitlyn Waslawski singled in the first run, then executed a double steal that ended with Sabrina Rabin stealing home.
Rabin (4 strikeouts, 1 walk) picked up the win in the circle improving her record to 10-2. She worked the first five innings before freshman Allison Hausl pitched the final two retiring six of the seven batters she faced.
Geneva did all its damage against Rabin in the third inning. Anna Geary, who went 3-for-4 after a red-hot week last week with 11 hits, singled to start the rally.
Bridget Weitzel reached on a catcher's interference call, and Kirsten Searcy also singled to load the bases. Kelly Gordon's groundout brought in the first run, then sophomore Madison Keith tripled in two runs to bring the Vikings within 4-3.
The North Stars quickly answered with four runs in their half of the third to make it an 8-3 game. Brodner and Howlett started the rally with singles, and after Delaney Olinger singled to load the bases, Amanda James walked to force in a run.
Beal followed with her hard single to center that wound up scoring three runs on one of Geneva's three errors in the game.
Both coaches went to their benches the final few innings. Dierks pulled Haley Orwig after three innings while Poulin was able to get at-bats for Holly Hagemann, and Allison and Samantha Hausl, among others.
"I believe she's (Hagemann) good enough to start at any other school," Poulin said. "She's accepted her role and is a great teammate."
The Vikings (8-12, 4-8) won't have to wait long for another shot at the North Stars who they host Friday.
"If they are mad about it and they come back with the right approach, you can take advantage of it," said Dierks pointing toward a better effort in a second meeting with Bartlett this season. "We should be a little mad about this. We get a quick opportunity to fix what wasn't right today and show we are better than that."