ELMHURST – The St. Charles North softball team has been searching for consistency in the pitching circle in the early part of its season.
A recent three-game losing streak – including a doubleheader sweep at the hands of New Trier on Saturday – forced North coach Tom Poulin’s hand to look elsewhere after a tough couple of losses where North Star pitchers had trouble with control.
Katie Roggemann became the answer the North Stars were looking for Monday as the junior pitcher helped North snap its three-game skid with a complete game effort in a 4-1 win against host York.
Not only did Roggemann help North (5-3) get back on track, she did it in her first varsity start.
Roggemann spent the first couple of games of the season with the junior varsity before Poulin made the call.
Roggemann responded with seven innings of two-hit ball, escaping jams in the first, sixth and seventh to claim the win.
“I was really nervous but they were all really supportive of me,” Roggemann said. “I was able to hit my locations and if it wasn’t working, I was able to go somewhere else. My team backed me up and they were a huge part of helping me out through this.”
Roggemann had help from her battery-mate, Emily Brodner, who was able to slow the game down for the junior right-hander from the start.
“I think she was a little nervous for her first varsity game but I think she did a really good job,” Brodner said. “After last weekend and with Sabrina [Rabin] being out this game, I think this was a big lift to know we have other pitchers and back-up in case something happens.”
Rabin was held out of Saturday’s losses against New Trier and Monday’s game against York because of a minor shin injury.
Rabin’s injury forced North to look elsewhere for outs.
The game did not start well as York lead-off hitter Angela Scalzitti reached on an infield slap-single and came around to score on an error that gave the Dukes a 1-0 lead.
The North Stars responded in the second as Brodner reached on a walk – one of three on the day for the catcher – and scored on an error to tie the game at 1.
Roggemann was in complete control thereafter as North scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the third on an RBI single from Abby Howlett. Pinch-runner Amanda James scored a pitch later, sliding under the tag of York catcher Sarah Milikowski to push the lead to 3-1.
Erin Nemitz added an RBI single in the fifth for the final run. North stranded 10 runners on the day after walking nine times against York starter Elena Schwartz.
“Pitching and defense was the difference today because we didn’t hit real well,” Poulin said. “We liked what we say today defensively because we’ve been kicking the ball around against good teams. We’ll continue to be aggressive on the basepaths and hit a lot better than we did today.”
Despite leaving 10 runners on base, Poulin was clearly more excited about Roggemann’s performance.
“That makes us ecstatic because we need to develop depth behind Sabrina in the circle and this is the start for that,” Poulin said. “First start for Katie at the varsity level, and she exceeded our high expectations.”
Howlett finished 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI as North managed just five hits.
Rabin is expected to make her return to the circle today against Metea Valley.