Softball: St. Charles East tops Wheaton North for 8th straight win
Abby Arend's swing has been a "here or there, hit and miss," but the main goal remains the same at the plate.
"I need to get on base for my teammates," said Arend, St. Charles East's sophomore infielder after the Saints' 5-3 victory over Wheaton North on Monday. "Be able to get that big hit, score a run. Just do it for my teammates."
Arend did her part Monday, singling in a run in the first inning to give the Saints an early 1-0 lead and later tripling in the fifth.
"[Arend] is a sophomore and we haven't locked in her as a full-time starter, but she does a lot of nice things fundamentally," St. Charles East coach Jarod Gutesha said. "She's an athlete. She moves like an athlete; she has a great swing. You saw that today with the single and the triple ... she's just an athlete. I think her athleticism is what makes her the player that she is."
The Saints (15-3, 5-1) won their eighth consecutive game. That stretch includes a 1-0 win Saturday over Lincoln-Way Central, who is currently ranked fourth in the Class 4A Illinois Softball Coaches Association poll. Izzy Howe pitched seven scoreless innings and Kati Gheorghe had the walk-off RBI single in the 10th inning.
"The way that we work together [makes this team special]," Arend said. "Pick each other up; and we're always there to have each other's back. If we make a mistake, you know the next person's going to make a big play to pick you up."
Saints senior pitcher Katie Arrambide continued her sparkling season in the pitching circle. She entered Monday coming off back-to-back no-hitters of five and six innings, respectively.
Her no-hit streak came to an end on a single by Falcons junior Emily Sipowich to open the third inning Monday, but Arrambide still struck out 12 and allowed just six hits over seven innings.
"That's just what a senior season is," Arrambide reflected on her year. "You have all these emotions built up, especially when you miss your junior season [because of the pandemic. You just kind of want to lay it all out there. Obviously, I'm fortunate to know that I get to keep playing this sport next year [at Harvard] and for the next four years, but I'm never going to play it in this uniform again and with these coaches."
"Like I said, I know I have such a good team behind me; it's kind of just let me be very grounded and give everything I have without having to be too perfect," Arrambide continued.
After Arend's RBI single, Arrambide helped her own cause with a two-run homer in the third inning for a 3-0 Saints advantage. The Falcons (10-4, 4-3) got a run back on an RBI single from freshman pitcher Erin Metz in the bottom half of the inning.
Saints sophomore Nikki Johnston tripled in a run in the fourth inning, but the Falcons responded with a two-run triple from Sipowich to make it 4-3 Saints in the fourth. Johnston followed up with an RBI single in the sixth for the 5-3 Saints lead.
In the seventh, the Falcons put two runners on, but Arrambide earned her final strikeout of the evening for the victory.
Metz struck out six and issued two walks.
"[Metz] has been keeping us competitive in every game that we play," Falcons coach Zach Peterselli said. "She's been doing a nice job getting after the hitters and coming in as a freshman, she's really stepped up and wants the ball in her hand.
"Coming in day one, she's the type of girl who wants the ball in her hand."