The past few days had been rough for the Naperville North softbal team, with four consecutive losses, including defeats by Naperville Central and Glenbard North by just 2 runs.
A trip to Benedictine University in Lisle for a game under the lights Thursday night was just what the Huskies needed. They belted out 12 hits and defeated Wheaton North 10-5.
"We hit before the game and we're pumped up. We were trying to get our offense back," said catcher Kailee Budicin, who with teammate Alexis Solak, was just a home run each from hitting for the cycle.
The Huskies (13-9, 5-3 in the DuPage Valley Conference) and the Falcons (5-17, 2-7) took to a field that is bigger than what they are used to normally. According to the Benedictine University softball website, the field is a symmetrical 225 feet to the outfield fence.
And Naperville North hitters regularly smashed hits that went all the way to the fence. Winning pitcher Casey Rechenmacher and Budicin each hit ground-rule doubles because the balls bounced over the fence.
"We've been struggling with hitting and for us to hit the ball hard was good to see," said Naperville North coach Jerry Kedziora.
The Huskies led 4-0 after three innings. Two Wheaton North errors, Solak's 2-run triple and an RBI single by Rachel Aiardo were the keys to Naperville North gaining the advantage.
Naperville North tagged the Falcons for five runs in the fourth thanks to an RBI triple by Budicin, a run-scoring double from Solak and a run-scoring single from Rachel Martin. A sacrifice fly by Danielle Biesiada also scored a run during the inning.
Rechenmacher went the distance in getting the victory and struck out four.
"I was trying to focus more on hitting spots and where (Budicin) was calling them," Rechenmacher said.
The Falcons' offense heated up in the final three innings, finishing with 8 hits. The team scored one run each in the fifth and sixth innings on an RBI double by Hannah McCarthy and an RBI single by Kat Meyer.
Wheaton North tagged the Huskies for three runs in the top of the seventh with Meyer's RBI double, and a well-placed groundball turned infield hit by Maggie Will helping score runs.
"For us we needed to get the bats turned around. We were hitting the ball and making contact earlier, but we were popping it up," said Falcons coach Danielle Soraghan. "In the second half of the game, we were making solid contact and getting into the gaps."
The game was the annual DVC Cares contest in which teams and their schools can raise money for a charity of their choice. Naperville North and Wheaton North raised about $2,500 for Mutual Ground in Aurora, an agency that helps domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
The teams wore special jerseys, raffles were held at the game and a check was presented before the contest to representatives of Mutual Ground.