The Bartlett softball team had the kind of day Tuesday Hawks' coach Jim Wolfsmith would like to put in bottle and have available for the rest of the season.
The defending state Class 4A runner-up got good pitching, flawless defense, and solid timely hitting in defeating Elgin 11-2 in an Upstate Eight Conference crossover at Maroon Field in Elgin.
Senior Jessica Kirby allowed the Maroons just 3 hits, struck out 5 and walked 1, and the Hawks rapped out 14 hits, including three each from Rachel Odolski and Alyssa Nowak.
"It was one of those games we've been waiting for," said Wolfsmith. "We beat a good pitcher and a good team. We hit the ball, played some good defense and our pitcher stayed ahead in the count. She's sneaky fast and she has nice movement."
So ahead in the count was Kirby (3-1) all day that she threw 83 pitches, 68 of them for strikes.
"I just felt confident," said Kirby, who said her changeup and curve ball were especially effective. "Lately I've been struggling but today I was more focused. I definitely like first-pitch strikes and getting ahead in the count."
The Hawks (8-4, 4-1) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first three innings while Kirby was setting down the first nine hitters she faced. Odolski led off the game with a single, went to second and continued on to third on Katie Fornoff's bunt single then scored when Fornoff caught the Elgin defense napping and took second before the Maroons got the ball back to the circle. Nowak singled with one out and scored on an Odolski single in the second, and the Hawks plated 2 runs in the third on an RBI single from Alex Morales and an RBI squeeze bunt from Sydney Johnson that scored Haberstich.
The Maroons (6-5, 2-4) came back to make it a 4-2 game in the bottom of the fourth when Anna Eckholm broke up Kirby's no-hit bid with a leadoff single and scored on a one-out bomb of a home run by Perryman that cleared the fence surrounding Memorial Field, one of the longest home runs at Elgin High in recent memory. But after that Elgin got just 1 hit, a two-out single from freshman Jessica Rago in the fifth.
Bartlett, which will host Lake Park Wednesday then head to Ashland, Ohio for the Wendy's Spring Classic, didn't have to nurse a 2-run lead for long. After Perryman (3-5) struck out the side in the fourth, Fornoff drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and Haberstich followed with a line drive laser shot over the fence in left-center field to make it 6-2.
"Katie started the inning off nice and I was just trying to mover her around," said Haberstich, who hit her fourth home run of the season to equal her 2012 total. "It's a good start for me. I've been hitting the ball better and hitting it more solid."
Bartlett added 4 runs, 2 of them unearned, in the sixth and another in the seventh. Odolski and Nowak each went 3-for-4 on the day, while Haberstich was 2-for-4 with 3 RBI. Fornoff and Morales each had 2 hits as well.
"They put the ball in play and put some pressure on us on the bases," said Elgin coach Chad Dahlman. "We gave them a couple extra outs but they hit the ball. That's the best hitting team we've faced all year and they were aggressive in the basepaths. We hadn't seen that before."
Dahlman said his team has been struggling at the plate and that continued Tuesday for the Maroons, who have lost 5 of their last 6 games. After scoring 60 runs in their first five games, the Maroons have now scored just 15 in their last six.
"We're scoring our runs on home runs but we're not hitting the ball," he said. "We've got to start stringing some hits together. Our bats have gone into hibernation."