Streamwood certainly didn't use the textbook way to close out a win Monday at Batavia -- but the Sabres will take it.
With a 10-3 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh inning, the Sabres watched the Bulldogs string together five straight hits when they were down to their last out as part of a 7-run rally that tied the game at 10.
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Not deterred, Streamwood went back to work in the eighth, scoring a run and then closing the door in the bottom of the eighth for an 11-10 win.
"It's tough to do after giving up seven runs, but that's softball, that's why it's exciting," winning pitcher Kaitlyn Hedger said. "They teach us to keep our composure. It's a huge win especially coming out of a lot of losses. It's definitely a momentum-changer."
Hedger started the winning rally with a leadoff double in the eighth. Melissa Malcolm bunted her to third and Hedger scored when Taylor Williams grounded out to short.
Batavia (5-10, 3-6 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division) tried for another comeback in the bottom of the eighth. Christina Karius ripped a one-out double but stayed at second base when Hedger retired the final two batters on a pop to first and fly ball to right field.
It was as much a sigh of relief for Streamwood (3-9, 2-6) than a victory celebration.
"This team at the beginning of the year I told them we are a grind-it-out team," Sabres coach Nick Baird said. "We're never going to make anything easy.
"That was mentally tough. We gave up seven runs and a lot of teams would have just quit or gave up the next run or not scored in extra innings. But we came back and kept playing. I'm really proud of our effort."
Batavia took a 3-0 lead in the first. Freshman Toni Galas reached on an infield single and scored on a triple to the left-field gap from fellow freshman Rachael Lovestrand. Karius drove in the second run on a groundout and the third run scored on an error.
Streamwood responded by scoring in six of the next seven innings. Mercedes Olmos got it started with an RBI single in the second, the first of her 4-hit day out of the No. 7 spot.
Streamwood scored two more runs in the third to tie the game at 3. The first run scored on an error and the next on Malcolm's sacrifice fly.
Batavia, which hurt itself with 4 errors, had a costly one to ignite the Sabres' 3-run fourth inning.
Olmos followed with a bunt that Batavia hoped would roll foul down the third-base line. It didn't, and as Batavia waited for the ball to go foul Andrea Rodriguez alertly went from first to third on the play.
"That has gone against us a couple times," Baird said. "We've been working on our bunting in practice and the girls are putting in a lot of effort. Andrea came all the way around to third. That's momentum and we kept on building."
After another RBI single from Olmos in the fifth made it 7-3, the Sabres scored what turned out to be three crucial insurance runs in the seventh. Williams singled, Rodriguez crushed a double that just missed leaving the park, and Olmos singled to plate Williams for her third RBI. The next two runs scored on a double-play grounder and wild pitch.
That left Batavia in a 10-3 hole and three outs to go.
Turned out to be plenty of time.
Galas started the rally with a single and she scored on Natalie Offutt's RBI double. Offutt stole third and scored on a Karuis fly ball to center.
That made it a 10-5 game but also left two outs and nobody on base. After an infield error, Ashley McNamara and Jorie Nichol singled to load the bases.
Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos sent Tara Zufan up to pinch-hit, and she laced a 2-run single to left to make it 10-7. When leadoff hitter Ryanne Rokos followed with a double to right, it was a 10-8 game with the tying runs at second and third.
Galas came up for her second at-bat of the inning and tripled over the center fielder's head, tying the game and putting the winning runner at third -- where Hedger stranded Galas by inducing a comebacker.
"They made a nice relay so I held her," Castellanos said of possibly sending Galas on her triple for what would have been a walk-off inside-the-park home run. "We did a nice job of being patient that inning and hitting the ball hard."
Olmos (4-for-4, 3 RBI) and Hedger (3-for-5) led the Sabres' 11-hit attack while the win improved Hedger's record to 2-6.
"Our small ball was better than it was all year," Baird said. "Two-out hits. Bottom of the order really picked up the top of the order. She (Hedger) deserved this one. She has kept us in a lot of games."
Lovestrand pitched the first 6 innings and stuck out eight while walking just one. Alyssa Klemm relieved for the final two innings.
"I thought Rachel pitched a pretty good," Castellanos said. "We had a couple defensive lapses there. We have to fight through those. It's how you overcome those that will determine the outcome of the game."
Galas (3-for-5), Karius (2-for-3) and Rokos (2-for-5) all had multiple hits for Batavia. Ironically, the Bulldogs lost 9-8 to Geneva last week by giving up 6 runs in the bottom of seventh. Batavia nearly turned the tables with its 7-run seventh Monday.
"That was really positive the last inning there," Castellanos said. "The enthusiasm started coming back. We got some runners on and made some things happen. It was good to see that. We didn't give up, we fought hard and we had a chance to win that game at the end."