They'll call her the 'Jersey Girl' at times, but senior Jennifer Inamoto has certainly found a new home in Illinois.
"I love it here," said Inamoto, who played softball for North Hunterdon High School in New Jersey the last three years. "It's the best year of softball in my life, athletically and in terms of having fun."
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Inamoto and the Fillies had all kinds of fun in the fourth inning on Friday at Elk Grove.
That's when the Fillies scored all their runs, including a bases-loaded double by Inamoto, in a 6-1 victory.
The Fillies improved to 16-8 and 6-2 in the Mid-Suburban West as junior Keenan Dolezal (15-7) fired a 4-hitter with 5 strikeouts.
The clean-up hitting Inamoto ended up 2-for-3 with a walk.
"Jen is a great hitter," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson, who was one of three Hall of Famers on the diamond along with Grens coach Ken Grams and home plate umpire Dan Krueger. "She has been a huge addition to our offensive lineup this season. We are very lucky she is with us. She is a hard worker so this is very rewarding."
All the Fillies' runs came after two outs and were unearned.
Kat Panos (reached on error), Liz Sweeney (walk) and Taylor Moran (walk) were on base when Erin Ward singled to right to tie the game at 1-1.
Carly Kordich, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and sacrifice bunt, followed with a single to center for the 2-1 lead.
Inamoto then came up with her big blast to left center before Katie Dehnert's RBI single to right center made it 6-1.
"I'm always up there trying to do something for the team," Inamoto said. "I love the intensity you have to bring to play here. It's a challenge because it doesn't come easy. You have to work hard for it and it builds the team."
Speaking of building, Inamoto plans to study architecture at the University of Minnesota.
The Grens have built their impressive 18-4 record (5-3 in the MSL East) with a lot of offense. They've scored 9 or more runs in nine of their last 10 games.
"Give credit to Keenan (Dolezal)," Grams said. "We've been able to score some runs this season and she just shut us down."
The Grens' only run came in the third inning and was also unearned.
Catcher Melissa Picchi reached on an error and came home on Brianna Leach's one-out double to right center.
The Grens' Brooke Barges and Alex Masnica each singled in the fourth but Dolezal escaped with a strikeout and groundout to second baseman Kelly Katis.
Becca Maher's leadoff single to right in the fifth was the last hit off Dolezal.
She faced nine batters the rest of the way.
"Keenan can carry the weight of the team at times," Peterson said. "She certainly was good those last three innings."
Prior to the big inning, the Fillies had 1 hit (by Inamoto, Rachel Krzysko and Moran, who went 2-for-3) in each of the first 3 innings off senior Megan Eul (12-3).
"It takes our team a while to get going sometimes," Peterson said. "To the credit of the girls, they took their time and stepped up and hit the ball hard (in the big fourth inning). We are still looking to improve every day."
The Grens held Barrington scoreless in every inning but the fourth.
"One inning," Grams said. "It happened against Conant (9-4 loss). It happened against Schaumburg (8-4 loss). But the rest for the game, I thought we played well."