It had already been quite a week for the Bartlett softball team with earlier wins over Batavia, West Chicago, and Elgin. On Friday the Hawks put the icing on the cake by handing Neuqua Valley its first loss in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division, defeating the visiting Wildcats 4-2.
Neuqua (9-9) falls to 7-1 in the Valley Division, while Bartlett (13-4, 7-2) climbs right back into the thick of the race.
Sydney Johnson went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI and Kayla Haberstich slugged a solo home run to provide the Hawks with all the offense they would need. Starting pitcher Holly Pagan went the distance for the win to improve to 8-3.
"It has been a great week for us," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "We have had a great approach at the plate all week and have just been scalding the ball. Even on outs we are hitting the ball hard most of the time. To use a popular term these days, I like the way we are trending."
Johnson got the Hawks on the board in the first inning with an RBI single to score Alyssa Nowak, who doubled to lead off the inning. Johnson added a 2-out, 2-run single in the sixth inning which put the Hawks up 4-1 at the time and proved to be the difference. Alex Morales and Pagan, who had reached on back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth inning, both scored on Johnson's hit.
"I was just taking team swings by trying to make contact," Johnson said. "Their pitcher was throwing a lot of pitches for balls, so we just had to be patient."
Haberstich's home run came in the third inning on a 2-2 pitch to the opposite field over the right field fence with a little help from a gusty wind. It was her first home run of the season and put the Hawks up 2-1.
Pagan combated the wind by inducing 13 ground ball outs. She scattered 4 hits, struck out 4 batters, and walked only 1.
After surrendering 2 hits to start the seventh inning, Pagan worked out of the jam with only 1 run scoring. She retired the final 3 batters with a strike out and 2 ground balls.
"I was just trying to keep the ball down," Pagan said. "My drop curve was working today and my defense really backed me up."
After falling behind 1-0 the Wildcats tied the game 1-1 in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Julie Hubner. In the seventh inning Jessie Boudreau led off with a single and Aryana DiBernardo followed with a double. Boudreau later scored on a ground ball by Haleigh Yerkes. Other than that offense was hard to come by for the Wildcats.
"You have to hand it to their pitcher," Neuqua coach Melissa Wilson said. "She did a great job of keeping us off balance all game."
Megan Bilgri (3-7) went the distance and took the loss for Neuqua.