With crucial Upstate Eight Conference River Division games looming on the horizon against St. Charles East and St. Charles North it would have been easy for the Elgin softball team to look past its struggling crosstown rival Larkin on Wednesday. However, that was not the case as the Maroons took nothing for granted in a 20-1 victory that went just 5 innings.
Elgin (10-10) improved to 5-3 in the UEC River Division to remain just a game behind East and North in the loss column.
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The Maroons pounded out 16 hits, scoring 9 runs in the first inning, 7 in the second, and 4 in the third.
"The kids did a great job," Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales said. "We know we have some big games coming up, but we beared down and got it done today."
Jessica Rago led the assault going 4-for-4 with a home run and 6 RBI. She also pitched the first 3 innings, giving up just 1 run, to pick up the win to run her record to 5-4. Rago had a pair of singles and drove in 3 runs in the first inning. She added a 2-run single in the second inning and then clobbered a line drive solo home run over the left field fence in the third inning.
"On 3 of my 4 hits I had two strikes on me," Rago said. "I guess that just helped me focus more. The whole team was hitting the ball today. It was like once someone got a hit everyone else followed."
The Maroons sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning and were aided by 2 Larkin errors and 3 walks. Kelly Bremer, Nora Stanley and Jenna Lombardo all drove in a run. Stanley also had a 2-run single in the second inning and Bremer (3-for-3) added another RBI single.
Lead off hitter Anna Eckholm reached base and scored all 4 times to the plate with a home run, a single, and 2 walks. Her home run was a towering 3-run shot to left in the third inning.
"I got a nice pitch and took advantage of it," Eckholm said. "We've been hitting the ball real well. We are just focusing on putting the bat on the barrel."
The Maroons face St. Charles East on Thursday and St. Charles North next Tuesday.
"We'll get a good idea of where we stand," Bumbales said. "(East) is a real good team 1 through 9. They are fundamentally sound with some good pitching. We have some young kids, so this will be a good test for them."
Larkin fell to 3-16, 1-9. Alexis Price had an RBI single in the second inning that scored Alex Bednarski, who had led off with a single. Maria Rojo started and took the loss for the Royals.