Batavia pitchers Alyssa Klemm and Rachael Lovestrand held Neuqua Valley to one run over the final five innings Wednesday in Batavia, but by then the Wildcats had given their pitcher Kristin Catalano all the offense she would need.
The Wildcats scored two runs in both of the first two innings while Catalano struck out three and allowed just one walk and four hits in her complete-game 5-1 victory.
"It's good knowing if you do slip up your team has your back," said Catalano, who threw mostly fastballs and changeups with a few rise balls mixed in. "I had a great defense to help me keep that lead."
Neuqua Valley (2-4, 2-0) played error-free ball for the second straight day following Tuesday's win over St. Charles North in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"This weekend we kicked the ball around a little and we learned from our mistakes which is what I'm most proud of our girls," Neuqua Valley coach Melissa Wilson said. "They have really been putting in the work. It's impressive."
The middle of Neuqua Valley's order did most of the damage. No. 3 hitter Jamie O'Brien finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBI while she and second hitter Jenny Budds and No. 4 hitter Colleen Hill combined to go 7-for-11 with all 5 RBI.
"I've been feeling really confident and I'm confident in my team even if I don't get one I know somebody else behind me will back me up," O'Brien said. "I was just looking for my pitch and I guess it was working today."
O'Brien and Hill both had RBI singles up the middle in the first inning.
"We started off the game with some good hits, we were aggressive on the bases, and it worked out to our advantage," Wilson said.
Batavia (0-3, 0-1) answered with its only run in the bottom of the first. Elyse Burns led off with a single and after Natalie Offutt replaced her at first hitting into a fielder's choice, sophomore catcher Brieanne Cruz blasted a double to left center to score Offutt.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 4-1 in the second on a run-scoring double from Budds and O'Brien's second RBI single.
After that Klemm settled down, then the freshman Lovestrand closed the game with three scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit.
"Eventually one will pitch more," said Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos, whose young team with just 2 seniors had only played West Chicago and Kaneland before Wednesday.
"Right now start of the season I'm trying to work them in, get a feel for what everybody can do, move girls in and out and give them a chance. Once we get toward the middle of the season we finalize our lineup for most of the games."
Batavia committed just one error -- on the first at-bat of the game -- while making a couple highlight-worthy plays.
Shortstop Burns ranged to her left to snare a hard-hit ball, stepped on second base and threw to first for a double play. Right fielder Tara Zufan robbed Hill of a third hit with a diving catch.
"Defensively we did an awesome job today," Castellanos said. "I just feel on the offensive end we string a little more hits together and I think we'll be in most games."
Batavia split its four hits between four players: Burns, Cruz, Christina Karius and freshman Toni Galas.
"We battled, we got off to kind of a rough start," Castellanos said. "Our energy was a little low but toward the middle of the game we picked it up. We are just struggling now trying to string hits together."
While Neuqua Valley leaves Thursday for a tournament in Ohio against some state champions from other states, the Bulldogs also have a couple challenging games Friday against Waubonsie Valley and Saturday at Kaneland.
"I just think it's going to be a learning process," Castellanos said. "We do have girls that are older but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. It's a process for them to get to learn the speed of the game at this level and learning each day and trying to get better."