How capable are the Naperville Central softball team's hitters? A perfect example came during Game 1 of Saturday's twinbill in Elmhurst that the Redhawks won 9-8.
The Dukes won Game 2, 11-4.
In the opening contest the Redhawks (12-3) were rolling along smoothly to a 3-1 lead. A run-scoring double to left by Lindsay Gonzalez scored Courtney Giebel in the third, who had also doubled.
Naperville Central scored twice in the fourth when a pair of York fielding errors put Meredith Siambekos and Katie Lamich on base and Giebel hit them home on a single to center.
York (11-6) scored a run in its half of the fourth and after holding Naperville Central scoreless in the top of the fifth, the game imploded on the Redhawks. York batted around for seven runs on six hits to take an 8-3 advantage.
A 2-run double by Abby Solem was the big hit of the inning, and the Redhawks committed two errors. Throw in a couple of controversial calls by the umpires and you have a wild inning.
Were the Redhawks finished? No.
They started chipping away at York's lead in the sixth and kept gaining momentum, finishing that inning with 5 runs on 4 hits to tie the game at 8.
A 2-run double by Lamich and an RBI single by Megan Nerger pulled Naperville Central to within 8-6. With two outs leadoff hitter Maddi Doane stepped to the plate and hit the first of her two homers on the afternoon and the first homer of the day for either team, which scored Lamich and tied the game.
"She was throwing me outside, but that pitch was over the plate," Doane said of her big hit.
Doane added that the Game 1 victory showed the depth of the Redhawks' lineup.
"There's not one specific player that gets it done on this team. There are different heroes every single game," she said.
There were two out in the seventh when Lisa Tassi doubled to left. Nerger came to the plate next and with a 1-2 count singled to center to score Tassi for what was the winning run.
What impressed Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum was how his team responded so late in the game.
"It was a great comeback by the kids to score six runs with just six outs remaining," he said.
Less than 24 hours after striking out 15 in the victory over West Aurora, Julie Kestas got another victory, striking out seven in the complete-game effort. She retired the York lineup in order the final two innings.
Game 2 belonged to York. The Dukes took a 6-0 lead after two innings. Solem hit a 2-run homer in the first and Angela Scalzitti's 2-run double was the big hit of the 4-run second. That wasn't all for Solem. She hit a 3-run shot in the fifth and wrapped up the day with an RBI double the following inning.
"It was definitely a rough first game and I just wanted to come back and help my team," Solem said.
Winning pitcher Amanda Kamatz went the distance, striking out three. York coach Drew McGuire said the Dukes' 13 hits and show of offense help other parts of the team's game.
"When the bats come alive and we hit, we have a different attitude in the field and we don't play as tight," he said.
Three of the four Naperville Central runs in Game 2 came courtesy of home runs. Tassi connected in the sixth and Doane and Giebel came through in the seventh.
"I was pleased with the way we hit the ball in the second game, but we didn't have enough baserunners," Nussbaum said.