The rain and cold on Thursday wasn't going to faze Hoffman Estate's softball team in a season which is proving to be its best in years.
"It was pretty chilly," said Hawks sophomore pitcher Tracy Osimowicz, not even mentioning the off-and-on rain drops. "We were keeping each warm in the dugout sharing jackets and whatever else we could do."
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And Osimowicz was doing what she has most of the season -- winning on the pitcher's mound.
The sophomore right-hander raised her record to 8-1, tossing an 8-hitter with 2 strikeouts in a 12-4 victory over the host Huskies.
"I'm so proud of her," said Hawks coach Lindsey Hamma, whose club improved to 11-9 overall and 3-5 in the highly-competitive Mid-Suburban West. "Obviously with the conditions, she could have let that got to her. But Tracy stayed the course and played through it. She's gritty and it's nice to be have her out there."
Payton Anderskow, who had a double in Hersey's nine-inning win over Rolling Meadows a day earlier, was the only Huskie to reach base in the first three innings when she was hit by a pitch.
"I was just trying to focus on Kaileen (Hendle, her senior catcher), the fundamentals and trusting the team behind me making the plays," Osimowicz said. "It's all due to my defense."
Her team didn't waste time providing a cushion.
The Hawks went up 5-0 after just two innings. They got a big spark from Sam Acosta, who played her leadoff role to near perfection.
The senior shortstop reached base in all five of her at-bats while going 4-for-5 with 2 RBI and a season-high 4 runs.
"Sam is one of our captains and leadoff batter," Hamma said. "And she did everything you can ask from a leadoff batter. She was on base every time, and ran the bases aggressively, putting herself in scoring position five times."
Acosta hit the game's second pitch for a double to left center and then used a wild pitches to score the first run.
The Hawks added 4 more in the second when Acosta had the only hit, an RBI single to center that scored Veronica Cardella.
Osimowicz, Charlotte Allan and Acosta also scored for the 5-0 lead.
RBI singles by Cassie Zouras and Michelle Helminski got the Huskies (8-10-1, 2-5) to within 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth.
The hosts closed to 5-3 in the fifth when freshman shortstop Katie Wingerer (2-for-3) led off with a double to left and came home on Angela Schmiederer's two-out single to center.
"Our girls won't quit -- they have the hearts of lions," said Hersey coach Molly Freeman. "And we are proud of that."
Hoffman's offense kept the pressure on, scoring 4 times in the sixth and 3 in the seventh to seal the verdict.
Hendle had the only hit in the sixth, a one-out double to left that brought home senior Kajal Dalal, who had walked.
Sophomore Jordyn Fera, Acosta and Hendle also crossed the plate in the inning.
Hersey scored its final run in the sixth, getting three straight singles from pitcher freshman Kaitlyn Denten (5 strikeouts), designated player Emily Butler and Wingerer, who got the RBI
Allan reached on an error to start the 3-run seventh and Acosta followed with her fourth hit of the game, an RBI single up the middle to score pinch runner Andrea Wolinski.
Hendle (2-for-5) belted her second straight double with two outs and junior Caitlyn Farina (2-for-3) added a RBI single to center to make it 12-4.
Helminski suffered a thumb injury while catching and was replaced by Angela Schmiederer, who had been playing second base to replace Dani Sychowski (illness).
"So then we had to juggle things around with our lineup," Freeman said.
"We had to keep fighting," Hamma said. "Give Hersey credit. They kept fighting back. This win gives us some momentum leading into a chock full of conference games next week."