The St. Charles East softball team finished second in state last season and is an area power again this spring.
The Saints want to keep the good times going and coach Kelly Horan said a key to that is having effective team depth and that was evident in Wednesday afternoon's 7-4 win over Lake Park at The Rosemont Dome.
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"If there's more than nine that can contribute, that's what we're striving for," Horan said. "I'm pleased how we came in today ready to go. In these early spring games we're playing I'm trying to get people innings."
The entire Saints lineup reached base, six earned at least a hit and three had multihit games including freshman catcher Rylee Stout who doubled to the center field fence to lead off the sixth. Her courtesy runner, MacKenzie Meadows, later scored.
Earlier, in the second, Stout reached second base on a dropped flyball and in the fourth she connected on an RBI base hit and Meadows scored her first run of the contest.
Senior Sarah Collalti paced St. Charles East (2-0) with three hits, two runs and an RBI single in the sixth. Junior Olivia Cheatham had two hits which also included an RBI single.
The Saints, the away team, took a 3-0 lead when Cheatham singled to left with one out in the first. Collalti's infield hit moved her into scoring position and a fielding error on the same play plated Cheatham and moved Collalti to third.
Senior Kate Peterburs' sacrifice fly scored Collalti and in the second, Jordan Hieber reached base on a fielder's choice and scored on the dropped flyball that put Stout at second.
With the game tied at 3-all after three innings, St. Charles East added two more runs in the fourth and sixth innings. RBI base hits from Stout and Cheatham were the difference in the fourth. Collalti and Peterburs did the exact same thing in the sixth for those two runs.
Junior pitcher Alex Latoria earned the win for the Saints, going three innings. Haley Beno came on in relief, allowing just one run on two hits and striking out nine including the final two Lake Park hitters to wrap up the game.
"I felt it was going good. My stuff was working and that obviously helped," Beno said.
She is one of the returning players from last season's state final team and said everyone wants to make this season memorable as well.
"It was exciting to go to state and we're so excited for this season to start," she said.
The Lancers (0-2) finished with seven hits and coach James Chellson was pleased with how Lake Park had improved offensively 24 hours after a season-opening loss to Montini also at The Rosemont Dome.
"Our mental approach was a better one. We were putting the ball in play and making fielders make tough choices. It was a small ballgame by putting pressure on their defense," he said.
Julia Caesar paced the Lancers' offense with two hits and scored two runs. She was brought home in the second on a fielding error after a single to right. She led off the seventh with a base hit and Maria Zepeda's single to left brought her home.
The Lancers scored twice in third. Ashlyn Worcester doubled to the left field fence and moved to third on a wild pitch. With one out, Stephanie Sturino reached on a fielder's choice when Worcester beat a throw to home.
Dena Guthrie singled to left center and then deliberately overran the base. The Saints' defense went for her and that allowed Sturino to score. Guthrie also finished with two hits.