The Hoffman Estates softball team started Friday's Mid-Suburban League crossover game with an act of kindness.
Before celebrating their own Senior Day, the Hawks presented flowers to the five seniors on the opposing Rolling Meadows team.
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Then the four Hoffman seniors were honored.
Moments later, all four of those Hawks made a major contribution to a 10-4 triumph which gave Hoffman its 15th win, the most in coach Lindsey's Hamma nine seasons.
"We always do that (present flowers to the visiting seniors)," said Kaileen Hendle, the Hawks' senior catcher who took the field before the game along with fellow seniors Sam Acosta, Kajal Dalal and Andrea Wolinski. "It's a great thing coach (Hamma) always does for the other team. It's nice that they get recognized, too."
Hawks fans recognized Hendle's first two at-bats all too well. She was hit by pitch -- a way she has reached base nearly 15 times this season.
"I don't mind taking one for the team." she said.
But Hendle also took it to the Mustangs with her bat, collecting back-to-back singles in the sixth and seventh innings when the Hawks pulled away.
They scored 5 runs in the bottom of the fifth for an 8-4 lead.
Meadows (6-25) raced in front 4-1 after two innings, with Chloe Prodanovic playing a key role in each inning.
The Mustangs' senior leadoff batter started the game with a triple to right and scored on Lane Winkler's one-out sacrifice fly to center.
Meadows added 3 runs in the second getting a 2-run two-out double to left-center by Prodanovic to score Lauren Hattory and Amanda Elkins, who each had singled. Maddie Morgan then singled home Prodanovic to make it 4-1.
"We started out kind of slow but we stayed loose and fought back," said Acosta, who like Hendle has been on Hamma's varsity for four seasons.
The Hawks (15-14) added 2 runs in the fourth after two were out. Acosta started the rally with a single and eventually scored on sophomore Jordyn Fera's single to left.
Hendle then had her first of 2 RBI when she singled up the middle to score Dalal, who had walked.
The hosts took the lead with their 5-run in which they batted around.
Wolinski led off with a single to center and scored on a one-out single by sophomore Alexus Venegas.
Dalal came up with a 2-run single to right scoring sophomore Veronica Cardella and Acosta for a 6-4 lead. Fera followed with an RBI double to left center and Hendle finished the rally with an RBI single to right.
The Hawks' final 2 runs came in the seventh on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Charlotte Allan.
Sophomore Tracy Osimowicz (11-4) earned the win, striking out 6 with 1 walk in 7 innings.
"It was a great day for our four seniors," Hamma said. "Each one of them contributed in a big way.
"Our senior class is just a gritty group of girls They have stuck with it and have played a huge part of this. Getting 15 wins is a tough thing and we play in a tough MSL West conference.
"These four girls have been a big part of the program, taking our younger kids and showing them what it means to be a Hawk. The great thing is that we can build on this momentum and carry it with us into the regional (Hawks host their own regional next week)."
The Mustangs were led on offense by their first four hitters in the order -- Prodanovic (2-for-4), Maddie Morgan (2-for-4), Winkler (2-for-3) and Grace Skorin (2-for-3).
"We have a bad inning every game that hurts," said Mustangs coach Tony Wolanski, referring to the Hawks' 5-run fifth. "Hoffman did a good job hitting the ball."
Acosta (3-for-5), Venegas (3-for-4), Dalal (2-for-3), Fera (2-for-4) and Hendle (2-for-2) paced the Hawks' offense.
"It's one of my best seasons in softball," Hendle said. "We've just all worked so hard and it was nice to see us come together."