Softball: Warren survives Mighty Mic, Stevenson
It's "Mic," pronounced "Mick."
"My coach since I was 11 started calling me 'Mic,' " said Stevenson softball catcher Michaela Faunce, who goes by Mic. "Everyone likes to (spell it) M-i-k."
Well, of course, there's no "K" in Faunce's first name. Warren ace Hannah Nommensen struck out 14 Stevenson batters on a chilly Tuesday, but Faunce wasn't one of her "K" victims in the Blue Devils' 9-6 win in a North Suburban Lake Division showdown.
Faunce, in fact, hit a grand slam and also smoked a triple to the gap, going 2-for-4 with 5 RBI.
"Mic has remarkable bat speed," Patriots coach Alex Vikartofsky said. "When she stays loose and smooth and just lets her hands do her job, she really attacks pitches."
Faunce's two hard-hit balls were the exception against Nommensen, who might have found her groove -- or at least her confidence -- after struggling early in the season. She allowed 7 hits in going the distance in the circle.
"It was like a mental thing, but I think I'm starting to figure it out and get through it," said Nommensen, who beat Wauconda and ace Kayla Wedl in 10 innings last week. "(Early in the year) I was afraid to throw (the ball) over the plate (because) maybe they'd hit it. I was afraid of failure."
Nommensen, who committed to North Carolina during the winter, allowed just 2 runs (1 earned) through five innings, as Warren improved to 11-9 and 5-1 in the NSC Lake. The junior struck out the side in the seventh after issuing her fourth walk, to Myra Peterson (2-for-2), to start the inning.
Nommensen's velocity has not been down this year, both she and Warren coach Jenna Charbonneau said.
"She's definitely coming back around," Charbonneau said of her all-area pitcher. "Her pitches were moving really well today. ... When she's 'on' everything seems to go right (for the team). When she's 'off,' we just got to have her back."
Trailing 9-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Stevenson (7-9, 3-2) loaded the bases thanks to a walk by freshman Anna Fossier, bunt single by Alana Labaschin and two-out walk by Emma Oriatti. Faunce then unloaded, hitting a pitch over the fence in center field for her second homer of the season.
"Actually, I thought it hit the fence," said Faunce, a junior who was a two-year varsity starter for Marian Central before she and her family moved from Algonquin to Prairie View. "I knew I hit it well, but that's a good pitcher. She provided a lot of the power."
"I probably left (the pitch) over the plate a little bit more than I should have," Nommensen said. "But she hit the ball hard."
Warren scored 4 runs in the first off Patriots starting-pitcher Peterson, as Sabrina Trevino (2-for-4) doubled in a pair of runs, while Taylor Aaron knocked one in with a double. Run-scoring singles by Claire Swedberg (2-for-3) and Trevino highlighted a 3-run second. Stevenson's third error of the game plated 2 more runs in the third to hike Warren's lead to 9-0.
"We can't wait until the fourth inning to start playing," Vikartofsky said after her Patriots dropped their fifth straight. "That's been our issue. When we come out and we hit in the first inning, and when we play in the first inning, we are on a completely different level. If we sit back and think it's just going to come, it doesn't really come for us."
Like Trevino, Crystal Pennell hit a double off the base of the outfield fence for Warren. Leadoff-batter Nicole Somppi (2-for-4) also had a double for the Blue Devils. Both Somppi and No.-2 hitter Swedberg (2 stolen bases) scored three times.
"When Nicole and Claire are on (base), good things happen," Charbonneau said. "We got so much power behind them."