It looks as if Glenbard West might have enough pieces to be successful this spring. The Hilltoppers just might have to work a little more on their puzzle.
On Friday in Glen Ellyn, the Hilltoppers (3-4) belted out 10 hits and led Elk Grove 5-3 after six innings only to suffer a tough 7-5 defeat after the Grenadiers pushed across four runs in the top of the seventh.
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Glenbard West used a 4-run inning of its own in the third inning to take a 5-1 lead, but it failed to score again against Elk Grove senior Megan Eul (7-0).
"We definitely had a let-up. That's the bottom line," Glenbard West coach Mary McGrane said. "We thought we were good enough that we could jump on a team, get a couple runs ahead and we think the other team is just going to lay over for us and they're not."
McGrane expects her squad to take a lesson away from Friday's loss.
"That's what we're learning. The girls know they've got to play seven innings. We're not good enough to play one inning, two innings, three innings a game. We've got to play seven if we expect to win," she said.
It's especially important to keep attacking when playing a potent lineup like Elk Grove's. The Grenadiers (8-1) had 9 hits, four for extra bases, and cracked a pair of doubles off Hilltoppers pitcher Taylor Langtry in the decisive seventh.
"I give them a lot of credit," McGrane said of the Grenadiers. "That's why I always enjoy playing (Elk Grove coach Ken) Grams. His teams are well-coached and they've got some hitters. They've got quite a few girls in their lineup who are not afraid."
Glenbard West committed a pair of errors in the fateful seventh, but Elk Grove did get a clutch 2-run single from Marjorie Sloan and an RBI double to the fence in left from Alex Masnica.
"We've been hitting the ball pretty good, so there's always that chance (to rally late)," Grams said. "But what I'm most proud of is they had that 4-run inning but then we shut the door on them. It was a bad inning for us, but we came back and made some hits and we got some big hits."
Stacy Borneman started that big inning for the Hilltoppers with a double, and shortstop Rachel Terwilliger delivered a big 2-run single up the middle.
"I've been struggling so I went up with a real good mentality and I wanted to focus on really seeing the ball," Terwilliger said. "I was just focusing on getting the ball out of the infield and doing well for my team. I felt like we needed some motivation at the time."
Now Terwiliger, like her coach, is hoping to see some more consistency out of the team.
"We have the talent and we have what it takes to win these games. We're just a puzzle and we've got to put it all together," she said.