West Aurora plays bombs away with Bartlett
West Aurora's softball team came into Bartlett Thursday riding high on confidence after beating Waubonsie Valley in 10 innings on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks used that momentum to notch another big win, pounding out 13 hits including 3 home runs in beating the host Hawks 9-5 in Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division action.
"I think we're kind of an under dog and we're surprising people," said West Aurora senior shortstop Taylor Podschweit, who hit for the cycle, including a 3-run homer in the fifth inning that put the Blackhawks ahead 9-0.
"We had a lot of confidence today. We were still on a high from (Wednesday)."
Taylor Podschweit set the tone for West Aurora's offensive onslaught by jacking Danielle Kirby's second pitch of the game off the center field fence for a triple. Cara Jimenez drove her in with a single and later scored on a single from Kendall Podschweit to stake sophomore Hannah Beatus, who pitched all 10 innings against Waubonsie, to a 2-0 lead.
Beatus dominated Bartlett (11-5-1, 6-3) early, allowing only three singles through five innings and striking out 10.
"Hannah's a good pitcher," said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith, whose team saw its five-game winning streak come to an end. "She spins it well and she locates it well."
The Blackhawks (12-6-1, 6-2-1) continued their onslaught at the plate in the top of the third, eventually driving Kirby from the circle.
With one out, junior catcher Carley Frauenhoff singled and Kendall Podschweit was hit with a pitch. After Kim Schliff popped out for the second out, sophomore Kallie Runde launched a 3-run bomb to left-center field to give West a 5-0 lead, which became 6-0 when junior Jessica Vargas did the same, only hers was to dead center but also well over the fence.
The lead became 9-0 in the fifth. Runde led off with a single and pinch-hitter Jessica Wayzer singled with one out, setting the stage for Taylor Podschweit to hit freshman Amber Pagan's first pitch deep over the left field fence.
"We were just trying to jump on the pitch early," said Taylor Podschweit. "We knew (Bartlett) was a good a team and we just wanted to come out and hit it hard. We've been hitting really well lately."
"The way we came out today was impressive and that's a great sign," said Blackhawks' coach Randy Hayslett. "After (Wednesday) we came out fired up today. Taylor is a great hitter and one of the best shortstops in the area. Vargas hit a great line drive, and Rundle ... we've got some power. I'm not sure what people think of our program, especially this being our first year in the Upstate Eight, but there are some names getting some attention now. People don't know some of our players yet but they will."
Bartlett finally got to Beatus in the bottom of the fifth, putting together 5 hits to score 5 runs. Junior Nina Pavell had a 2-run single in the inning and senior Lauren Janczak drove in 2 runs with a double. Sophomore Elyse Hickey drove in Janczak with a 2-out single to make it 9-5 and then moved to second on a passed ball but Beatus got Alyssa Nowak to ground out to end the inning.
Beatus then got three groundball outs in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win for West Aurora.
"Not to take anything away from West Aurora, they're a good team and they played especially well today, but I didn't think we came out very focused," Wolfsmith said. "They had a big win (Wednesday) and they came out very focused. We had some poor play in the outfield and we dropped a pop up in the infield. We had runners every inning we just couldn't get the knocks."