St. Charles North picked a nice day to have its best day.
North Stars starting pitcher Sabrina Rabin gave up just three hits to cross-town rival St. Charles East and allowed only one run in a complete game 5-1 victory in the Upstate Eight River Conference matchup.
"We haven't had seven innings where we've played that well all year," said North Starts coach Tom Poulin.
The North Stars (12-6, 8-2) left a runner on third in each of the first two innings but were finally able to break through against Saints starting pitcher Haley Beno (9-4) in the top of the third.
Andrea Beal led off the inning with a single to right and then stole second base. Rabin drove her in with a single up the middle for the game's first run.
Another single by Mickey Goetz put runners at the corners with no one out. Goetz took second uncontested on the next pitch and Alexandra Millet and Abby Howlett followed with sacrifice flies that scored Rabin and Goetz to make it 3-0 at the end of three innings.
"We have been talking to them about productive outs," said Poulin. "If you have someone on third, put it in the air or on the ground to the right side, and we did that today and you have to play very well to beat St. Charles East because they are loaded."
Rabin (7-5) made the lead stand up. She didn't allow a hit until Saints right fielder Katie Kolb led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to the left-field fence.
Rabin looked like she was going to leave her stranded there after she got the next two hitters but a wild pitch and an error allowed Kolb to score what would turn out to be the Saints' only run of the day.
St. Charles East (18-5, 7-2) seemed to be figuring out Rabin a little bit the third time through the order but the North Stars flashed some leather to keep the Saints at bay. Erin Nemetz snared a laser off the bat of Olivia Cheatham and the next play Kaitlyn Waslawski made an equally fine play at second base to retire the side in the sixth inning.
Rabin also fielded a hot shot at the mound and Beal laid out to catch a ball in the third inning.
"We feel like we have good athletes and that is what we expect," said Poulin of his team's defense. "We want them to do that and I was happy to see it today."
"I pitched as well as I could and I know I have my defense behind me," added Rabin. "We told ourselves that we had to be aggressive today and I think that is what you saw all over the field and we definitely were aggressive and it paid off. I was just trying to keep them off balance, the majority of my pitches were working today so I just tried to mix it up. I know that they are good hitters and that I had to hit my spots."
The North Stars added two insurance runs in the sixth inning when Millet led off with a single and Howlett reached on an error. Waslawski hit a double to straightaway center that drove in both runners making it 5-1.
"Tip your hat to their hitters putting it in play," said Saints coach Kelly Horan. "We were a little bit on our heels. It was a good game, you tip your hat when people beat you and today they did. If you ask Tom (Poulin), we want to face each other three times this year. A good season means we are facing each other three times."