The game-ending flyball off the bat of Barrington sophomore call-up Jenna Fingerman, which Libertyville right fielder Kenzie Rother caught just in front of the fence, was a little tricky.
Kind of like the unconventional spelling of Tayler Oberman's first name.
There's no "o" in there for the girl who jump-starts Libertyville's "O."
"My mom," Oberman said with a grin. "She likes to make things difficult."
Libertyville's softball journey from mediocrity to elite in Lake County? Not easy.
By beating visiting Barrington 4-2 in Game 1 of a nonconference doubleheader Saturday, Libertyville improved to 14-0. The Wildcats finished just two games over .500 last season. They were a 17-17 team in 2012.
"I did not expect it to go this way, to be honest," Oberman, a three-year varsity middle infielder, said of Libertyville's rapid rise. "But, yay (laughing).
"We've been talking about this game (against Barrington) since the beginning of the season," she added. "We've been preparing for it since the end of tryouts."
Barrington got a little payback in Game 2, scoring twice in the seventh to win 6-4, improve to 9-5 and hand the Wildcats their first loss. Liz Sweeney got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Fingerman had an RBI single in the Fillies' seventh.
In the opener, trailing 1-0 after Oberman's "homer on errors" in third, Barrington went ahead in the fourth. Sophomore Kelly Katis made Libertyville pitcher Haley Alban pay for a couple of walks, as her double into right-center scored Carly Kordich and Sweeney.
Libertyville got the 2 runs back in the fifth after Fillies junior ace Keenan Dolezal issued a leadoff walk to Oberman (2-for-2, double, 2 walks, 2 runs, 2 stolen bases). Dolezal, who's committed to Loyola, walked eight and allowed 6 hits.
"It has not been as effective as it was a year ago," Barrington coach Perry Peterson said of Dolezal's control. "I don't know why."
Oberman eventually scored on a wild pitch. Jamie Stevens delivered the clutch hit in the inning, dropping a two-out single down the right-field line to score Jessie Lauret (2-for-3) with the go-ahead run.
"Just playing a team the caliber of Barrington is always going to be a challenge," Libertyville coach Elissa Wisniewski said. "They're always going to come after you. They're so well-trained and execute everything so well that you got to play at that level. You can't make a mistake, or they're going to beat you."
Another leadoff walk -- this one to Taylor Zoellick -- resulted in Libertyville plating another unearned run in the sixth. Zoellick scored on the Fillies' third throwing error of the game.
"I think our kids did a great job of being really aggressive on the bases and forcing (Barrington) to make errors. Which was our game plan," Wisniewski said. "We tried to take the Barrington game to them and be aggressive and put pressure on the defense."
Barrington didn't go quietly in the seventh, as Katis led off by touching Alban for a single. Rother tracked down Katie Dehnert's deep fly for the first out, before Alban squeezed a popup. Fingerman, a pinch hitter, jumped on Alban's first pitch and clubbed it high.
"I was nervous," Wisniewski said. "First pitch, boom. You're like, 'Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Just stay in the park. Just stay in the park.' "
Rother sped back. The freshman wouldn't be frazzled. She made the catch.
"Our right fielder," Wisniewski said. "Kudos to her, because she got played a little bit on one in the gap earlier (Katis' double), and she made a great adjustment on two balls in the outfield to seal up that game."
Alban allowed only 4 hits, striking out three and walking three. Cleanup-hitting Madi Dembinski drew 3 of the walks allowed by Dolezal.
In Game 2, Stevens went 2-for-4 for Libertyville and Dembinski doubled.
"We're actually a real team," Oberman said. "We all like each other. We don't disagree on small things. There's no drama."
Barrington executed better in the second game, as Kordich and Jennifer Inamoto each had 3 hits. Katis doubled again, as did Kat Panos.
"I feel like everybody is trying the best that they can," Peterson said after Game 1. "They're getting opportunities to participate. When the opportunity's there, you got to execute, and I think our execution is not as good as it needs to be."