One of Lake County's strongest softball programs also happens to be, well, strong.
And we're not even talking about the head coach.
"People don't know this about our team: We're a big lifting team," said first-year Warren coach Bryan McNulty, a former star linebacker who was recently named the Blue Devils' new head football coach. "We lifted all off-season. We got seven girls that squat over 200 pounds."
Included is Megan Scott, who actually squats a lot more weight than that.
"She squats 300 pounds," McNulty said. "She's as strong as an ox. She works really hard. And you see it."
Warren saw it Thursday.
Scott showed off her girl power in the Blue Devils' 6-0 win over host Antioch in a North Suburban Conference crossover. She socked her second home run of the season and pounded a double, as well.
The daughter of Mike, a former football player and wrestler who's retired from the Marines, and Lisa, who's retired from the Navy, the senior third baseman credits her parents for her muscles.
"I'm naturally pretty strong," said Scott, a starter for Warren's sectional-championship squad last year. "I take a lot of pride in my strength. I come from a very (physically) strong family. My mom was strong. My dad is strong."
Speaking of strong, that would describe Jana Wagner's effort in the circle.
The veteran right-hander tossed a complete-game 4-hitter, striking out nine and not walking a batter (one hit batsman). Just two days earlier, Wagner allowed 9 runs, including 4 home runs, in an eight-inning victory at Mundelein.
"Mundelein's always tough with their short fence. It's always been that way," said Wagner, who's signed to play softball for Division II Palm Beach Atlantic College in south Florida. "I felt like we bounced back, and the team started hitting early."
Warren (6-3) gave Wagner all the run support she needed in the second inning. Facing Sequoits freshman Hannah Cook, who was making just her second start, Scott led off the inning by lining a pitch over the fence in center field. Consecutive singles by Rachele Belletini (2-for-2), Jodie Hurd (2-for-3, double) and Crystal Pennell (4-for-4) loaded the bases. Sabrina Trevino drove in the first of her 2 runs with a fielder's choice, and when Jensen Plata scored to finish off a double steal with Trevino, the lead swelled to 3-0.
Antioch (3-4) got back-to-back singles by Mackenzie Thomas and freshman Ashley Stephens to begin the last of the third, before Wagner retired the next three batters.
After Warren added a pair of runs in the seventh, with Emily Partlow and Pennell contributing RBI singles, Sage Keyes led off the Antioch seventh with a double. One out later, Taylor Schiltz reached on an error and stole second base.
But Wagner struck out the next two hitters, both swinging, to preserve the shutout.
"That's Jana Wagner right there," McNulty said of his ace's bounce-back effort. "She just comes back. She's kind of a quietly tough kid, and she's a competitor. I could tell by the second inning that she was on it."
"She's a phenomenal pitcher," Scott said of her teammate.
As she's done frequently the last two springs on varsity, Wagner relied on her riseball and screwball to record big outs.
"They didn't lay off them, so that always helps," Wagner said.
"She's a very good pitcher," Antioch coach Anthony Rocco said. "You got a scholarship pitcher, a senior. She's not going to make many mistakes."
Warren had defeated Antioch the last two seasons by the 10-run rule, so its coach wasn't too disappointed Thursday.
"We did our best," Rocco said. "We played it aggressive. Hannah Cook did an excellent job. She's doing a really good job hitting her spots and keeping (hitters) off-balance."