As the rain, and thankfully not snow, fell early in the morning outside, some teams were getting their first shot at playing together on a field in The Dome at The Ballpark in Rosemont.
Such was the case for the Elgin softball team which, before its games Thursday morning, had only been able to practice a handful of times. And it showed as Hampshire was able to score a victory in just five innings, 15-4, over the short-handed Maroons.
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Missing two of their captains, Jennah Perryman and Kelly Bremer due to spring break, the bottom half of the Maroons' lineup was unable to produce, striking out 7 times and scoring just once on 3 walks.
Though the inexperience did not help, the main cause of the problems for the Maroon hitters was Hampshire junior pitcher Haley Widmayer.
After being spotted a 3 run lead in the top of the first, an error and a walk started the bottom half for the Whip-Purs (2-2). That was followed by Sabrina Stockman lacing a a double to the left-field gap, scoring a pair.
Widmayer gave up just 1 more hit after the double, an RBI triple to Anna Eckholm in the second inning, while striking out 12 to earn her second win in as many days and, according to Whip-Purs' coach Stacey Stepek, becoming more comfortable on the mound.
"Haley practices seven or eight different pitches, so it's a matter of us finding which four are going to work best for us that game," Stepek said. "We got on the same page (after the first) and she got it working and she shut them down."
Widmayer was also helped by a Whip-Pur offense that exploded for 14 hits and 15 runs. Leading the way were senior Sara Finn (3B, RBI, 3 RS), freshman Payton DeChant (2-for-3, 2 doubles, RBI, 3 RS) and Widmayer herself as she drove in a pair.
Making the start and taking the loss for the Maroons was junior Jenna Lombardo as she was tagged for 10 of the runs scored, with 8 being earned. On offense both hits the Maroons had went for extra bases, Stockman's 2-run double and Eckholm's RBI triple, but they were unable to manufacture runs after that, stranding 5 runners on base in the game.
Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales liked that he saw his girls trying to fight back and adjust, but knows that getting back into the rhythm of game speed and facing live pitching were the most important things they needed.
"We talked all week about coming out and getting some experience against live pitching. We have things to work on and we knew that," Bumbales said. "I'm happy with a lot of things I saw and the girls made good adjustments as the game went on."
Those improvements came on the heels of an 11-0 loss against Hoffman Estates in the opening game of the day. While they were held off the basepaths for much of the game, the Maroons did find some spark in the bottom of the sixth.
With one out, Eckholm tripled to deep left off sophomore Charlotte Allen, but the next two batters were quickly taken care of with a strikeout and a slow grounder to the second baseman.
Sophomore Jessica Rago suffered the loss in the circle for the Maroons.