St. Charles North softball coach Tom Poulin has been around high school athletics long enough to know all about letdowns after a big win.
So it figured Poulin would be a little nervous about Tuesday's Upstate Eight River game at Elgin. His North Stars had just come off a 10-0 rout of rival St. Charles East to take over first place in the River the day before, and Poulin was a little concerned about how focused his team might be on Tuesday.
Well coach, as the song says: Don't worry, be happy.
And happy Poulin was after his team drubbed the Maroons 8-0, banging out 18 hits in the process.
"We were worried there may have been a letdown today," said Poulin, whose team earned the No 3 seed in the St. Charles East sectional, behind the top-seeded Saints and No. 2 Glenbard North, as released by the IHSA Tuesday.
"It's a credit to our kids to come out and play at the same high level again. I'm proud of how focused they were and how as into it they were as (Monday)."
The North Stars (15-4, 11-2) scored once in the first, three times in the second and three more in the fourth before adding a final run in the seventh. Abby Howlett, who entered the game hitting .518, led the way going 4-for-5 with a double and 3 RBI.
"I just feel like we've stepped up our game," Howlett said. "We've all been hitting and it's fun. It's contagious. I just feel like I'm getting into a groove, I'm going to lessons every Sunday, and I'm focusing on where I want to hit the ball."
Starting pitcher Sabrina Rabin went 2-for-4 for the Stars. She pitched the first three innings, allowing 1 hit with 3 strikeouts and a walk, before giving way to junior Katie Roggemann, who allowed 2 hits over the final four innings.
Mickey Goetz added a double and 2 RBI, Emily Brodner had 2 hits, Alex Millett had a double and an RBI, Erin Nemetz drove in a run and Holly Hagemann had an RBI as Poulin freely substituted after the third inning.
"The bats have been heating up since the Geneva game," Poulin said. "That's good to see because the defense has been solid and Sabrina is throwing well. Pitching and defense are what we'll need to be successful in the tournament and it's nice now to be putting up some big numbers offensively."
Jennah Perryman had 2 hits for Elgin (11-10, 5-8), which drew the No. 10 sectional seed, and freshman Jessica Rago was tagged with the loss in the circle.
"They're leading the conference for a reason," said Elgin coach Chad Dahlman of the North Stars. "They hit up and down the lineup and we gave them some extra outs. Tomorrow's another day and we've got another good team tomorrow with St. Charles East."