Glenbard East had no place to put Katie Ryan in the top of the seventh inning on Monday afternoon.
The Batavia senior, bound for Dayton, had 27 career home runs when she strode to the plate with the bases loaded and none out in the Bulldogs' possibly final at-bat.
The Bulldogs were trailing the Rams 6-2, but the game was soon tied as Ryan hit a towering drive down the left-field line that barely cleared the fence for a grand slam.
The onslaught was just beginning for Batavia; the team would score four more times, the key blow being a 2-run triple by Lauren Miller, and the teams' Class 4A play-in softball game had been fundamentally altered as the Bulldogs erupted for 8 runs on an equal number of base hits in the seventh.
Glenbard East would bring the potential tying run to the play in its seventh inning, but sophomore Sarah Little, in relief of Ryan, recorded the final two outs to preserve her first save of the season in the Bulldogs' 10-7 win in Glen Ellyn.
Batavia (9-18), the No. 17 seed in the Neuqua Valley sectional complex, faces top-seeded Naperville Central (31-3) today at home.
Sixteen-seeded Glenbard East had its season conclude at 9-19.
"I just didn't want to ground out to the pitcher," Ryan said of her mindset when she came to plate with Mueller, Ryanne Rokos and Alex Scaccia on third, second and first, respectively.
"It was in an iffy area when (the drive) first went up. I just wanted to make any kind of contact available. I would have taken a sacrifice fly."
But the Rams' game-long lead was evaporated as the sky-high drive landed inches beyond the fence.
"It made it by about a foot," Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said.
Batavia had a pair of runners on with two outs later in the inning, but a critical Glenbard East throwing error enabled courtesy runner Elyse Burns to score the go-ahead run.
Mueller came to the plate next; her slicing drive landed inches inside the right-field line. Nicole Peercy and Amanda Klein came all the way home as Mueller scampered into third.
"(Castellanos) told us to watch for the first strike," Mueller said. "I tried putting it in play. It went to the right, and I just kept running."
Rokos' sharp single to left to score Mueller completed the Bulldogs' 8-run uprising.
Angela Greco, whose fifth-inning double gave Glenbard East a 5-2 lead, had another run-scoring single in the Rams' seventh to chase Ryan.
But Mueller escaped the subsequent jam with a routine fly to left to give Ryan her first pitching win on the season.
"I didn't how much gas I would have left," Ryan said.
"Sometimes pitches don't go where you want them," Glenbard East coach Val Pinzker said of the Ryan blast. "That shouldn't have been the game-changer. (Starting pitcher Kara Tadda) pitches her heart out every game."
Tadda had a bad-hop single to score the Rams' second run, and Kelli Tyler capped the Rams' 3-run second by driving in a pair one batter later.