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.
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."