North Dakota recruit Megan Hedstrom says the motto of her Palatine softball team is simple.
“We play as a team,” said the Pirates’ ace. “And we win as a team.”
And it’s a team that knows how to come from behind.
A few weeks earlier the Pirates rallied from a 6-0 deficit to edge Schaumburg 8-6.
Playing on the field of Mid-Suburban East leader Buffalo Grove on Thursday, the Pirates found themselves in a 4-1 hole after four innings.
But the visitors broke through for 4 runs in the top of the sixth and Hedstrom added another with her home run in the top of the seventh as the Pirates captured a 6-4 triumph.
“It felt good to come back because we did it against Schaumburg, too,” said Hedstrom, who also scored the Pirates’ run in the fourth inning. “It makes us realize we can fight back. And when we have the lead, it’s a calmer environment when you’re pitching. It’s much easier to focus as a team.”
Palatine improved to 16-9 and 10-4 in the Mid-Suburban West while BG stands at 12-8 and 8-5 in the MSL East, 1½ games ahead Elk Grove.
BG jumped ahead 3-0 in the third, getting a 2-run double to right-center by catcher Amanda Salzman followed by an RBI double by Katie Conley.
Palatine got 1 run back in the top of the fourth when Courtney English singled home Hedstrom.
BG scored its fourth run in the bottom of the inning when sophomore Caitlyn Catino (2-for-4) singled to center to score Kristina Dakas, who had singled and advanced to third on an error.
“We’ve been starting out slow in games defensively, and putting ourselves in holes,” said Palatine coach Jeff Manz. “The one thing though is that we don’t quit. We just claw our way back into the game.”
In the decisive sixth inning, freshman Kenzie Craver had a sacrifice fly to center to score Jamie Haze (2-for-4).
Nora Walsh added an RBI on her infield hit and a run scored when Lauren Logan (double in the third inning) reached on an infield error. Walsh (2-for-4) also crossed the plate on a double steal.
Craver also made her presence felt defensively in the bottom of the sixth when she caught a flyball in right and then threw out a runner who had tagged up at second base.
Craver threw a one-hopper to third baseman Haze, who put down the tag for the final out of the inning.
“That was a nice play by the freshman (Craver),” Manz said. “And Kenzie had just given us the sacrifice fly in the top of the inning.”
Hedstrom gave herself the 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh with her leadoff blast over the left-center field fence.
The senior right-hander (12-9) wrapped up the win in the bottom of the inning when she got the first two batters on groundouts.
Salzman completed her 3-for-3 day (1 walk) with a two-out single to left before Hedstrom (5 strikeouts) ended the game on a popout to second.
Bison ace Julia Camardo (11-7) struck out nine, including the side in the seventh.
“I thought our short game at the bottom of the batting order did a great job,” Manz said. “Our slappers did a nice job putting pressure on them. And we had some nice base running to get runners home.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.