When Hampshire opened the season against Wauconda Monday, Whip-Purs' softball coach Stacey Stepek knew her team was facing an experienced Elite Eight qualifier.
The Whip-Purs were able to put that doubleheader loss in the rear view mirror on Wednesday when they handed St. Edward an 11-3 defeat at The Dome at The Ballpark in Rosemont.
Junior Haley Widmayer flirted with a no-hitter, allowing the Green Wave only a single by Megan Strong in the sixth and final inning.
"My pitches were working better today," said Widmayer, who struck out 11. "I just tried to keep them on their toes, hit my spots and adjust to the umpire."
Widmayer struck out 7 of St. Edward's first 9 batters and all 3 runs she allowed in the sixth inning were unearned.
"She stepped it up for us even though the umpire wasn't giving her the zone we like her to stay in," said Stepek. "She adjusted and defensively we played well behind her and we ran the bases aggressively."
Hampshire (1-2) used 5 St. Edward errors to help fuel the win. The Whips scored three times in the first two innings on errors before erupting for 6 runs in the fourth. Brittany Sujet drove in Ellie Lappi, who had tripled, to start the onslaught. Sara Finn had a 2-run single and Widmayer drove in a run before Aly Snider (3-for-4, 3 RBI) legged out an inside-the-park home run. Finn and Snider also drove in runs for Hampshire in the fifth inning.
"The competition against Wauconda was top-notch," said Stepek, whose team will play Elgin at 10 a.m. Thursday in the dome. "I'm glad we were able to bounce back, not hang our heads, and come out ready to play good softball."
Sophomore Lindsay Zdroik suffered the loss for the Green Wave, who were playing their season opener after practicing just once outside on a parking lot.
"Our returners need to have a stronger presence out there," said St. Edward coach Jaci Corn. "It was nice to finally get to play on a field. We learned a lot of things today and now we're ready to get to work on them."