It's hard to tell what's more impressive about the Geneva softball team's 27-game winning streak -- the streak itself, or that the Vikings have been so dominant that until Thursday they didn't need to come from behind to win.
Rival Batavia, playing strong softball in its own right, pushed Geneva like nobody has, taking a 3-1 lead early and a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
The Vikings, as they have all year, had the answer, a grand slam by Alyssa Kramer highlighting a 5-run sixth for an 8-4 victory.
Geneva (29-2, 18-0) finished its Upstate Eight Conference schedule undefeated and will be riding high heading into the postseason next week.
Kramer's blast was one of three Geneva home runs. Kaitlyn Plocinski hit the first, a solo shot in the first for a 1-0 lead.
Batavia (20-12, 12-6), coming off a win over St. Charles East on Wednesday, responded with a 3-run rally in the second. Allison Bahlmann doubled, and No. 7 and No. 9 hitters Katy David and Jessica Kleist drew key walks to load the bases and turn the lineup over to Toni Galas who doubled high off the center field fence to score all three runners.
The Vikings chipped away with Plocinski's RBI single in the third and Annika Radabaugh's 10th home run of the season in the fifth tying the game 3-3.
Batavia went back up 4-3 in the sixth. Bahlmann again started the rally with a single and eventually scored when Molly Costigan hit a liner off pitcher Emily Viebrock's glove that deflected to Sam Keller at shortstop who threw home late.
Kyla Chenier singled leading off the Geneva sixth, and with two outs Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos walked Plocinski intentionally -- a move that worked in the fourth when Molly Wrenn grounded out.
This time Wrenn made Batavia pay with a clean single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game 4-4.
"Molly had all the heat on her," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "That was such a clutch hit."
"I wasn't going to let their best players beat us," Castellanos said. "Their players behind them came through. You have to give them credit for that."
After Radabaugh walked to load the bases, Kramer launched her grand slam over the fence in center.
"My heart was pounding so hard," Kramer said. "I just tried to focus on keeping my head down and see the ball in. I tried not to get out in front of it."
The Bulldogs used three pitchers while Ali Dierks relieved Viebrock in the sixth and got the win for the Vikings, improving to 10-2.
If Geneva and Batavia both win their regionals next week, the rivals will meet again in the Class 4A Bolingbrook sectional semifinals.
"Congratulations to Batavia, they have really finished strong," Greg Dierks said. "I hope we prepped each other well for the postseason."