With the wind blowing out at the Benet softball field Saturday, it was no surprise that six home runs were belted during the Redwings' doubleheader against Marian Catholic.
Benet would dominate in that category, connecting on four which played a big factor in the team sweeping the twinbill, 6-4 and 9-6.
Redwings catcher Steph Abello led the way with a 3-run shot in Game 1 and yet another 3-run homer in Game 2, along with a 2-run shot.
"I've been hitting pretty well and I've been seeing the ball real well," said Abello, who finished with 8 RBI.
With the Redwings (23-1 overall, 12-0 East Suburban Catholic Conference) ahead just 3-2 after four innings of Game 2, Abello hit her 2-run homer in the fifth and her 3-run connection the following inning helped her team jump ahead 9-3. The Redwings needed that cushion when the Spartans (13-9, 9-4) racked up three runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Benet advantage to 9-6.
In ESCC play the teams play each other twice during a season, once at home and once away. Some of these contests are combined into a Saturday doubleheader and so against Marian Catholic, Benet was the home team in Game 1 and the away squad in Game 2.
Julianne Rurka hit two doubles for Benet in Game 2, including one that scored a run in the sixth. Rurka finished the afternoon with 4 doubles.
Emily York was the winning pitcher in Game 2, striking out 6 in her complete-game effort.
On the second pitch of the opening game, Marian Catholic leadoff hitter Susie Baranski hit the first homer of the day. The Spartans racked up 7 hits over the first two innings. Benet had only three hits during that span but led 5-4 thanks to Abello's 3-run homer in the first and Marissa Panko's 2-run shot in the second.
That would be it for the Spartans' offense the rest of the game. Benet starting pitcher Molly Moran struck out the side in the third and proceeded to no-hit the Spartans over the game's final five innings, allowing just two walks over that span in getting the win.
"I was geting more confident after striking people out and I started hitting my spots," Moran said.
Like any pitcher, she feels buoyed when her team is hitting and gets her a lead.
"It always give you confidence when your team gets the lead, and that makes me want to hold down the other team from scoring even more," Moran said.
She missed last season due to a knee injury.
"Molly is amazing. She came back from knee surgery and is strong and getting stronger every day," Abello said. "As we play we're getting to know each other better and I get to know what she likes to throw. The relationship between a pitcher and catcher is special."
Benet coach Jerry Schilf said Marian Catholic always provides a big challenge for an opponent.
"Molly settled down and that comes from experience," he said. "Marian is a tough team, and they can put pressure on you. Their kids hit the ball hard."
As Benet's success continues to grow, Schilf is keeping his team's focus simple.
"All season has just been about the next game, which is Monday for us at Carmel. Our goal is to win conference," he said.
The game in Mundelein starts at 4:30 p.m.