ROSELLE – The St. Charles East softball team put together three big innings Friday to pick up a big Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory over one of the conference’s top teams.
The Saints (9-3, 3-2 UEC River) scored three runs in the first inning, seven in the fourth and four in the sixth to rout conference crossover foe Lake Park, 14-2. In doing so, they handed the Lancers (11-2, 4-1) their first league loss and senior pitcher Danielle Jecmen (8-1) her first defeat of the season.
“That’s one of the better teams in the state,” East coach Kelly Horan said. “We faced their really good pitcher and we had a good attack at the plate. We kept coming and coming. I’m really proud of the kids.”
Center fielder Tess Hupe finished 4 for 5 for the Saints and drove in three runs.
“Last week I was in a little bit of a slump, but I just knew I had to stay relaxed and be positive,” Hupe said. “That worked for me.”
Being positive was not an easy task considering the chilly and damp weather conditions. The game-time temperature was 40 degrees, but a 20 mph wind out of the west made it feel more like 30 degrees and also periodically pelted the players with an annoying drizzle.
“We really keep each other up and coach kept us in the game,” Hupe said. “We all are mentally tough and so we pushed through it.”
Horan took no credit for her team’s resolve.
“When it’s a day like this, where it kept getting colder, you’re battling the opponent and you’re battling the weather,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what I do or my assistant does, you can’t teach mental toughness and, by God, that was tough. They’re tough.”
Battling the weather was a challenge for East pitcher Haley Beno, who gave up a pair of solo home runs. Kelly O’Neill hit a line drive over the center field fence in the first inning and Mari Colucci hit another in the third to right that got some help from the wind to leave the park.
“I was trying to stay focused and not let it get to me,” Beno said of the homers. “I knew they were good hitters coming in, so I was trying to hit my spots and make my pitches work.”
Beno gave up six hits in six innings. She walked two and struck out five.
Colucci’s homer cut the East lead to 3-2, but the Saints blew the game open with a seven-run fourth. Kate Peterburs drove in a pair of runs with a hit and East took advantage of three errors in the inning by the Lancers.
“They just came out and hit the ball all over the ballpark,” Lake Park coach Tom Mazzie said. “We kicked the ball around the infield, too.”
Olivia Lorenzini contributed three hits and three RBIs to the Saints’ 16-hit attack. Sarah Collalti and Katie Kolb each singled and doubled and drove in a pair of runs. Alex Latoria singled, was hit by pitches twice and scored three runs.