The only thing more perfect than Kate Hohenstatt's jersey-number choice was her execution on the softball field.
Lakes' leadoff hitter went 3-for-3 with a walk and double and scored 3 runs in helping the Eagles hold off Stevenson 7-5 at The Dome in Rosemont on Thursday. The lefty-throwing outfielder sparkled defensively, too, making a rolling catch on a shallow flyball in the fifth inning and ending the game by throwing out a runner at third base.
"Our last loss of the season in the state series we're going to have her get hurt so we can redshirt her," Lakes coach Bill Hamill joked of Hohenstatt, his returning all-area sparkplug.
This is crazy. No. 8 (Kate) happens to play position 8 (center field).
"For our jerseys, the smaller numbers are the smaller sizes, so I just had to pick a single-digit number," said the 5-foot-1 Hohenstatt, a senior who's sported jersey Nos. 12 and 4 the last two springs on varsity. "I picked 8 (laughing) because it rhymes (with Kate)."
Stevenson, which was playing its season opener, made a serious comeback attempt. Trailing 6-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Patriots scored three times. Dana Morgan (3-for-4, double) led off with a single and scored on KJ Noronha's groundout. Freshman Emma Oriatti tripled home Kat Trotter, and Molly Thon's RBI single pulled Stevenson within one. Thon stole second to put the tying run in scoring position, but Lakes pitcher Taylor Dishinger ended the inning with a strikeout and groundout.
After Montana Mang's third RBI gave Lakes (1-2) an insurance run in the top of the seventh, Dishinger retired the first two batters in the bottom of the inning. Morgan kept the game going with a single. She tried racing from first to third on a wild pitch when the catcher's throw sailed into center field, but Hohenstatt alertly charged the ball and fired.
Kate's throw wasn't late. It was a strike to third baseman Mang, who made the tag for the final out.
"We've been pushing them to be aggressive and make the other team make the plays," said Stevenson coach Larry Friedrichs, whose team played without all-area shortstop Taylor Koenigs (college trip) and fellow starter Lexi Yonkovic (family commitment). "What comes with that is that I have to be much more reactive when I recognize there's no way (the runner) is going to make it (safely)."
Dishinger got help from her defense in the fifth, too. With Lakes up 5-2 and runners at the corners, right fielder Lauren Clark snagged Abby O'Connor's foul fly and doubled the runner off first. In the second inning, Dishinger applied the tag at home as Stevenson's runner tried scoring on a pitch to the backstop.
"We ran ourselves out of a couple of things," Friedrichs said. "That's what the beginning of the season is good for -- for everybody to learn."
The left-handed-hitting Hohenstatt led off the game with a single and scored on Ashley Horner's triple. Hohenstatt walked, stole second and scored on Mang's single in the third. Hohenstatt bunted for a hit in the fourth, and in the seventh she led off by slapping a pitch into shallow left field and hustling to second with a double. She scored an insurance run when Mang (2-for-4) grounded out.
"I've been working on my slapping game. That's what I've been trying to do indoors," Hohenstatt said. "Luckily, Mr. Hamill lets me decide what I want to do (at the plate) depending how the field's set up. I bunted because the corners were back. Then I slapped because the third baseman was in."
While Stevenson had 9 hits, including a pair each from freshman Vera Pflugradt (triple) and Thon, Lakes rapped out 12. The Eagles' left-hitting Clark, batting in the No. 9 spot, had a pair of RBI singles. No. 7 hitter Karlie Rotunno was 1-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt, and eighth-place batter Abbi Mehnert also successfully executed a sacrifice bunt.
"We hit the ball hard, and we will hit the ball this year," said Hamill, whose Eagles got hits from eight players. "Usually (opposing teams) will be like, '(Nos.) 7, 8, 9 (hitters are coming up). We'll relax.' But 7, 8, 9 is not a time to relax on this team. It's a nice luxury to have."
Lakes 12, Woodstock North 1: In their second game of the day at The Dome, the Eagles erupted for 7 runs in the fourth.
Chandler Mang led Lakes (2-2) at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double. Ally Perdue was 2-for-3 and also earned the win in the circle. The sophomore pitched a five-inning complete game, striking out nine and not allowing an earned run.
The Eagles got triples from Taylor Dishinger, Ashley Horner, Kate Hohenstatt (2 RBI), Jen Reed and Karlie Rotunno.