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updated: 4/11/2014 10:16 PM

Wheaton Academy bats get last word

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By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

It was a battle of the bats Friday at Wheaton Academy in a Suburban Christian Gold battle between the Warriors and Marian Central.

Thanks to a key hit in the bottom of the seventh and a wild pitch, Wheaton Academy stayed undefeated with an 11-10 victory to advance to 5-0 on the season and 3-0 in the SCC Gold.

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The Hurricanes took a 10-9 lead with two runs in their half of the seventh. Wheaton Academy's Mason Elliott led off with a walk and moved to second when Marissa Gagliano walked.

Megan Herring then reached on a fielder's choice when Elliott was safe on a throw to third.

That set the stage for Jessica Bosse, who lifted a ball into the air that landed in the outer part of the infield, just out of reach of the nearest infielder. It scored Hannah Bolds, who was running for Elliott, and tied the game at 10.

"I was a little frustrated because it was not on the ground, but it fell in the right spot," Bosse, who finished with 3 RBI for the game, said.

Next up was winning pitcher Michelle Ridderhoff, who went to a full count before a wild pitch scored Gagliano for the victory.

The Warriors and the Hurricanes (6-5, 2-1) each belted out 13 hits. Wheaton Academy coach Paul Gagliano was pleased with his team's showing at the plate but said the defense needs to be tightened. The Warriors were scheduled to face Class 4A Shepard on Saturday in a doubleheader.

"The defense was very sloppy. We did not execute the play after the play," he said.

What Gagliano is referring to is that Marian Central scored three runs when Wheaton Academy got the out, but the Warriors took their attention off the runners still on base for just a second or two and those runners advanced.

Ridderhoff, the winning pitcher, came on in the sixth inning.

Wheaton Academy jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first thanks to an RBI double from Herring and run-scoring basehits from Ridderhoff and Gina Graff. Herring, who finished with 3 hits, doubled again in the second and that brought home Gagliano, who had walked. The Warriors trailed 5-4 at the end of the inning.

Wheaton Academy scored 3 in the fourth to take a 7-6 advantage thanks to Bosse's 2-run single and Ridderhoff's single.

Bridget Koehler's groundball out in the fifth scored Graff to give the Warriors an 8-6 advantage at the end of five.

The Hurricanes tied the game in the sixth before Wheaton Academy grabbed a 9-8 in its half on a beautiful bunt by Autumn Ratliff that scored Herring, who had reached on a an error.

"We're excited (about being undefeated). We're just going to keep pushing for another winning season," Bosse said.

Although it's still early in the season, the significance of the game on the conference race was not lost on either team.

"Absolutely, I knew what kind of game it would be. It was going to be close," said Marian Central coach Erin Widmayer. "We enjoy playing them."

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