Tara Zufan didn't hesitate in stating how she would celebrate the first home run of her life.
"I'm going to DQ," the Batavia junior said. "It's a little hot."
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Zufan picked a perfect time for that first homer, socking a grand slam high over the left-field fence to cap Batavia's 7-run fifth inning and lead the Bulldogs to a 10-4 win over Metea Valley Monday in Batavia.
The win advances No. 16 seed Batavia (10-19) into the Class 4A Benet regional semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday against the host and top-seeded Redwings.
"We were looking for a big hit there and she came through," Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said. "As soon as it left the bat I knew it was gone."
Zufan wasn't as sure.
"I thought I popped it up at first. My teammates told me I was sprinting around the bases," Zufan said.
"I just saw it (the pitch) coming inside and I grounded out the last two at-bats and I knew what I had to do. I just hit the sweet spot and it went over."
No. 17 seed Metea Valley (8-22) led 1-0 going to the bottom of the fifth with senior pitcher Jenna Hall -- who set the school strikeout record in the loss -- holding Batavia to 3 singles through the first 4 innings.
Jorie Nichol started the rally with a single and advanced to third on a ringing double over the center fielder's head by Ryanne Rokos.
Batavia tied the game at 1 on an infield single from Toni Galas, then took the lead when starting pitcher Rachael Lovestrand dropped an RBI single into left field.
Nicole Peercy drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the third run before Zufan cleared the bases with her grand slam.
"That's the story of the season, one bad inning and it's the fifth inning," Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas said. "We had some opportunities early on to score and we didn't take advantage of those. We left some runners on, kept them in the game. It would have been a different situation."
Metea Valley thought it took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly to center from Monica Jauch to plate Alise Perna.
Batavia appealed that Perna left third base too early and the umpires agreed, calling her out.
The credit for the play goes to Batavia sophomore Ashley McNamara, who wasn't one of the starters Monday but ended up contributing to the win from the bench.
"She said, 'Coach, she didn't tag up,'" Castellanos said. "I always tell my girls even if you are on the bench pay attention to the game, you never know what happens. Somebody not being in the game helped us save a run there."
Lovestrand walked three batters in the second inning, and Perna drove home the game's first run with a fly ball to center. That's how the game remained until Batavia's 7-run fifth turned the tide.
"Our girls did a nice job all game," Castellanos said. "We played solid defense. Our shortstop (Galas) made a lot of nice plays out there. I thought we came with a lot of energy. All the credit goes to the girls."
Galas did race far out of her position to snag a foul ball down the left-field line, running into the fence after sprinting to get there in time. Second baseman Elyse Burns also dove far to her left to take a hit away from the Wildcats.
The win gives Batavia a chance to be David to Benet's Goliath Tuesday.
"They are one of the best teams in the state," Castellanos said. "The pressure is more on them than us. They are a good team. We're going to go out there and try to play our best. I know they have a lot of great players. It should be fun."
Kalivas said her returnees learned a lot this spring.
"(Playing) seven innings, that has been the biggest issue we've had all season," Kalivas said. "Believing we can still come back when the other team scores a run or two."
While most of the Wildcats return next season, Kalivas knows she will be losing two standouts in Hall and Perna.
"They have done a great job for us all four years on varsity," Kalivas said. "We wish them luck."