Trailing 4-0 after 5 innings, Waubonsie Valley's softball team apparently had St. Charles East right where it wanted.
All kidding aside, the Warriors (6-1, 1-0) have gotten accustomed to playing from behind in recent years.
"We were struggling to get on base the whole game," said Waubonsie Valley senior shortstop Amanda Minahan. "That's what we've been struggling with last year and this year. We have problems getting ahead.
"We're the team that always gets runs in the sixth and seventh innings."
Make that sixth, seventh … and eighth innings.
The Warriors scored 3 runs in sixth and added another in the seventh to force extra innings before sophomore starting pitcher Shannon Hohman (4-1) knocked in the go-ahead run with a groundout in the top of the eighth during their 5-4 victory over the Saints (3-2) Tuesday in St. Charles.
It was Minahan who helped give the Warriors a momentum boost with her 3-run home run to right-center with 2 out in the sixth to narrow the Saints' lead to 4-3.
"I was just really excited that the teammates in front of me got on base," said Minahan, who now has 4 home runs in 7 games. "I knew all I had to do was get a shot in somewhere so we could start getting some runs. I didn't expect to get the home run."
The home run -- the Warriors' second base hit of the game -- didn't come as a complete surprise to either team's head coach.
"She actually did the same exact thing two years ago here to win a game," said Warriors coach Aly Kelley. "It was kind of like déjà vu."
"I've been talking about Minahan for days with my assistant coach (Jared Gutesha) that, 'she's the one, she's the one that can't beat us,'" said Saints coach Kelly Horan. "If she hits a solo home run, who cares?"
Waubonsie tied the game at 4-4 on Christina Pembrook's sacrifice fly with 1 out in the top of the seventh before back-to-back singles from Amanda Lack and Minahan set the stage for Hohman's game-winning RBI in the eighth.
Up until Minahan's clutch 3-run home run, the Warriors had managed just 1 baserunner against Saints starting pitcher Haley Beno (1-2).
"We've talked about how we need to stay up and it could change with any pitch," said Kelley. "That's a great thing for them to see that it can happen.
"She's a game changer," Kelley said of Minahan. "She does that all the time."
Hohman scattered 8 hits while walking 5 and fanning 6.
"That kid is a workhorse," Kelley said of Hohman. "Shannon threw for us in Tennessee (Macon County Tournament) last Saturday, she threw for us on Monday (vs. Plainfield Central), and she threw for us today.
"I think it took her a few innings to get warm," added Kelley. "By the eighth inning, she was loose and I think she was throwing better than she was at the beginning of the game."
Olivia Lorenzini (2for-3, double, 2 RBI), Lexi Perez (2-for-3), Katie Kolb (2-for-3) and Alex Latoria (RBI single) led the offensive attack for the Saints, who stranded runners in scoring position in each of the last 3 innings.
"We had a lot of opportunities to win that ballgame and tie that ballgame but we just couldn't pull the trigger," said Horan. "But what I saw today was far better than our first four games -- and we didn't play bad in our first four games.
"We've got a younger team and we've just got to learn how to close things," added Horan. "We'll get there."