This past Saturday, Metea Valley's softball team was shutout on 3 hits by South Elgin junior Paige Allen.
On Tuesday at South Elgin, the Mustangs remembered to bring their bats.
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And they used them for much more than 3 hits.
Senior Lori Obendorf and junior Alise Perna each hit home runs and Metea Valley pounded out 13 hits off two South Elgin pitchers, then used a clutch performance from senior Stephanie Bova in the circle to hold off the Storm 8-7 in an Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division game on South Elgin's senior day.
"We executed much better today," said Obendorf, who was 3-for-3 with 3 RBI and drew an intentional walk in her final at-bat. "Saturday we faced the same pitcher and didn't score any runs. Today we hit the ball hard, to the right spots and at the right times. Saturday we couldn't bring them in and today we did."
The loss was an emotional one for South Elgin coach Jason Schaal, the only varsity coach the program has known since the school opened eight years ago. Schaal, who coached his final game on South Elgin's field, is leaving South Elgin at the end of the school year for a new position at Grayslake Central.
For awhile Tuesday it looked like the Storm would make their coach's final home game a winning one. After Obendorf put the Mustangs (9-19, 7-11 ahead 1-0 with a solo home run to lead off the third inning, South Elgin (15-12, 10-7) used an RBI triple from Sam Helton, an RBI double from Mallory Mecklenburg and a 2-run double from Alyssa Buddle to take a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the inning., which also chased starter Jenna Hall in favor of Bova.
After each team scored a run in the fourth -- Metea on an RBI single from Becca Fattes after an Alyssa Coletto double, and South Elgin on a sacrifice fly from Victoria Watt after a Paige Allen triple -- the Mustangs regained the lead for good in the top of the fifth scoring 4 runs on 5 hits, two of them bunts that were beat out by Mary Przekwas and Alexa Caputo. Kara Leckinger singled in a run, Fattes drove one home with a fielder's choice and Obendorf capped the inning with a 2-run single to give the Mustangs a 6-5 lead.
"When (Obendorf) hit that home run to get us on the board the confidence went up throughout the lineup," said Metea coach Kris Kalivas. "We looked more confident at the plate today and became more aggressive as the game went on."
Then it became Bova's turn to shut the Storm down and even though she allowed 2 runs, she got tough when she had to. Perna's homer in the top of the sixth made it a 7-5 game and then in the bottom of the sixth, Katie Koss led off with a single and advanced when Metea failed to touch second base on Allen's grounder. Watt sacrificed the runners to second and third but Bova got a strikeout and a pop up from South Elgin's 2-3 hitters to end that threat.
A Buddle double in the bottom of the seventh turned into a run when Metea right fielder Katie Kennedy made a spectacular catch of Brittany Koss' shot to the gap in right-center. Kennedy's momentum didn't allow her to throw right away and Buddle scored from second, but with the bases empty instead of the tying run at second or third, Bova got a groundout and then a liner back to her glove by Mecklenburg to end the game.
"She came in and did a great job," said Kalivas of Bova. "She had confidence and she worked the outside corner. And (Kennedy's) catch was huge."
Perna and Fattes each had 2 hits for the Mustangs. Allen suffered the loss for South Elgin.
"We just didn't get enough hits with runners on," said Schaal. "We had plenty of opportunities."