Benet slugger Steph Abello doesn't really care much for walks, so it was actually a good thing for her when she lost track of the count during a second-inning at-bat at Glenbard South on Tuesday.
After walking in the first inning, the Redwings catcher took ball three in her next plate appearance and started to head toward first before realizing it was not actually ball four. So she stepped back into the box and promptly blasted a 3-run home run over the fence in left center for an 8-0 lead that sent the visitors on their way to a five-inning, 13-2 defeat of Glenbard South.
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"Trust me I would always rather hit then get walked," said the junior catcher, who has 14 home runs this spring and has committed to play at the University of Illinois. "It felt good. I think this is No. 14 for me now this spring, but it feels great every time."
Everything felt great for the 21-1 Redwings on this day. They belted 12 hits and took 6 walks in the shortened game, flashed some nifty leather in the field and picked up another strong outing on the hill from senior pitcher Molly Moran. Moran held the two-time Class 3A defending champs to just 4 hits and 2 unearned runs while improving her record on the year to 12-1.
After missing last spring following knee surgery, Moran has been sharp for Benet this spring but is quick to credit her teammates for her success.
"It's great knowing that we have the offense and I know even when we're down we're going to come back," said Moran, who will pitch at the University of Chicago after she graduates. "Also our defense is phenomenal. They do so much for me and I am so grateful to have them backing me up."
The Redwings' infield, anchored by shortstop Marissa Panko, is one of the best units around, the outfield is solid and Abello -- who picked off a runner at second base -- controls the game from behind the plate.
Raiders coach Julie Fonda, whose team dropped to 11-7 with the loss, was impressed with Benet's offense and defense, and with Moran.
"They're a great team and they're planning to do some damage in the postseason and I'm excited for them," said Fonda, who will not have to worry about the Class 4A power once the playoffs open. "They play an incredibly tough defense. (Moran) hits her spots well and she has a tremendous defense around her. She has no fear of letting people hit the ball, but she gets you to hit her pitches instead of hit your pitches."
Abello finished 2-for-2 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored, but the Redwings also got 2 hits and 2 runs from Julianne Rurka and 2 hits and 3 runs from Emily York as they won for the 16th straight time.
For the Raiders, Mina Marra and Tricia Weigand each singled in the third and scored on an error to avoid being shut out by Moran.