The Upstate Eight Conference had a sneak peek of its soon-to-be two newest members Monday afternoon in Aurora.
West Aurora scored five times in the opening two innings and added another 5-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth inning to ease to an 11-3 softball victory over Glenbard East in the schools' DuPage Valley Conference opener.
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The two programs will be departing the league at the end of the school year to join the Upstate Eight.
Cara Jimenez staked West Aurora (11-4, 1-0) to a lead never to be surrendered with a first-inning solo home run over the right-center field fence.
Taylor Podschweit, who capped the Blackhawks' scoring with a 2-run single in the sixth inning, doubled the lead moments later with a one-hopper off the left-field fence.
"I was just looking to get on base," said Jimenez, who cracked her third homer of the spring. "It was a good hit. I wasn't expecting it."
Glenbard East (2-7, 0-1) unraveled on defense in the second inning, enabling West Aurora to pad its lead to 5-0 on 3 unearned runs.
Laura Kovanic and Jimenez were credited with RBI during the inning.
West Aurora starter Kaylee Hayton (5-3) faced the minimum seven batters through two and a third, but back-to-back walks left her vulnerable in the Rams' third.
"Kaylee had to adjust after she was called for some illegal pitches," West Aurora coach Randy Hayslett said.
DoniBrook Ross had a bases-loaded bloop single to put the Rams on the board, and Marissa West plated a pair with an opposite-field double.
But Glenbard East immediately gave back the momentum by allowing West Aurora to score without the benefit of a hit in its half of the third.
"That (run) hurt a lot," Glenbard East coach Nikki Simpson said. "You can't defend a walk."
The bats on both sides went quiet over the middle innings as Hayton allowed only 2 more hits the rest of the game.
"We started playing better defense," Hayslett said.
Hannah Beatus' double led off the Blackhawks' decisive sixth inning.
Tori Hunger had a bad-hop double two batters later, and Jimenez and Podschweit each finished with 3 RBI with their final at-bats.
"We needed to jump on the ball early to have some insurance runs late," Podschweit said.
"(Hayton) did a great job for West Aurora," Simpson said. "She kept us off-speed. She kept us off balance."
"Not the best we can play, obviously," Hayslett said. "We came back and ended on positive note."