Cary-Grove simply couldn't come up with enough clutch hits.
Stranding 10 runners including leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings, the Trojans' offensive ineptitude was costly in a 5-3 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division softball loss to McHenry in Cary Monday afternoon.
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"It was a real battle," said Cary-Grove coach Tammy Olson. "They came up with a few more hits than we did."
McHenry's aggressiveness at the plate was evident from the onset. Warriors' leadoff hitter Dana Walsh set the tone by crushing a solo homer to start the game.
McHenry (11-5, 5-1), winners of 9 straight, scored once more in the first on an RBI single by winning pitcher Kristin Koepke.
The resilient Trojans bounced back in the bottom of the inning with a 2-run single from Brianne Prank to tie the game at 2-2.
The Warriors regained the lead at 3-2 with a run in the second on an RBI double by Hannah Crowley.
Cary-Grove (9-9, 4-2) tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the third on a run-scoring single by Grace Pilz.
McHenry, which pounded out 12 hits, scored single runs in the fifth and sixth on an RBI double by Alex Martens and an RBI single by No. 9 hitter Rachel Ford.
Koepke, who wiggled out of bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth, picked up the win. In 7 innings of work, she gave up 3 runs on 5 hits while striking out 9 and walking 5.
"I am proud of how Kristin and (catcher) Carly (Mattson) are working well together," said McHenry coach John DiFrancesca, whose team has a one-game lead in the loss column over Cary-Grove, Huntley and Prairie Ridge. "Kristin struggled at times, but she did a good job of keeping her emotions in control and she got out of some tough jams. She did a great job of mixing all her pitches."
Walsh (2 runs scored, 2 RBI), Crowley, Koepke, Martens and Ford each had 2 hits for the winners.
'I really liked our aggressiveness at the plate," said DiFrancesca. "Dana really set the tone at the plate with the leadoff homer. Everybody in our lineup from 1 through 9 swung the bats well."
Pilz led the Trojans' offensive attack with 2 hits and an RBI. No. 2 hitter Jamie Deering, reached base 3 times and scored 2 of the Trojans' 3 runs.