Even with a key hitter out of the lineup, Glenbard North has a potent middle of the order and it provided just enough offense to beat Oak Park-River Forest in Saturday's twinbill opener.
Regular cleanup hitterHeather Sperlazzo was out with a sore hamstring, but the Panthers' Nos. 3 and 4 hitters still paved the way to a 3-0 defeat of the Huskies thatimproved Glenbard North's mark to 5-2 heading into the nightcap.
With two outs and no one on in the bottom of the first inning, Sydney Benz singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Center fielder Sarah Benz then lined a single to make it 1-0, and that proved to be more than enough offense for Panthers pitcher Cece Dopart, who blanked the visitors on 7 hits.
But Benz was not done causing damage. She delivered a two-out, 2-run single in the fifth to make it a 3-run margin over the Huskies (5-3).
"It was just hit the ball out of the infield," Benz said of her thought process during that fifth-inning at-bat. "And when you see the perfect pitch, your pitch, you just go for it."
Glenbard North didn't see many perfect pitches as Oak Park's Emma Baldwin fooled her share of batters with a tricky riseball. The Panthers managed just 6 hits in the game, including a bad-hop single off the bat of freshman Kayla Quanstrom that set the stage for Benz' key insurance hit.
"It starts off with being aggressive in the box, seeing more pitches and getting your pitch," Benz explained between games. "Especially with your first at-bat you get a chance to see what the pitcher has. She had a lot of movement. I give her a lot of credit for that."
Panthers coach Josh Sanew was impressed with Baldwin, but the same could be said for Dopart, who is now 4-2 on the spring.
"Two good pitchers went at it today," he said. "I thought they both did an excellent job. It's good to score first again, especially today with the wind blowing in.
"I thought their pitcher did a great job with that rise ball. We chased a lot of high pitches. It's the first time we faced a girl who could reallycontrol that rise ball."
Oak Park coach Mel Kolbusz admitted afterward that he considered walking Benz to load the bases in thesixth, but he didn't particularly want to deal with Petzold, who had two sharp singles in her first two trips to the plate. In fact, after Benz singled gomake it a 3-0 game, Petzold flied to the fence in right field where Emily Munz made a nice running catch to end the inning.
"When they had second and third and Benz was up, I thought about putting her on but the next kid up had two line hits up the middle," Kolbusz said. "You get the hits when you need them. (They did and) that's the name of the game."