WEST CHICAGO – Not much was going to keep Rosary pitcher Cara Smoczynski from shutting down Wheaton Academy on Monday.
The Royals, who’ve already had 13 games washed out this season, took Smoczynski’s lead in a 6-1 win over the Warriors, spoiling the home opener for Wheaton Academy on its newly renovated field.
In a steady rain and muddy field, Smoczynski was masterful from the outset, allowing only three hits while striking out 12 batters.
Wheaton Academy’s lone run was unearned as Smoczynski held Marissa Gagliano, a Radford recruit, hitless on the afternoon.
“This weather has been pretty crazy. Our tournament last weekend was canceled so we really wanted to play,” Smoczynski said. “We came out excited and just wanted to get it done. It was really sloshy, but I focused on my weight transfer making sure I had my weight back so I could explode off the mound.”
The Royals got on the board in the second after Madelyn Hemmerich doubled in Elayne Young that gave Rosary (3-4, 1-2 SCC Blue) an early 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Smoczynski was dealing through the first three innings, striking out six of the first nine Warriors’ batters, including four in the second.
Megan Herring reached on a dropped-third strikeout call that allowed Smoczynski to strike out four in the inning.
Four straight hits put Rosary up 4-0 in the third after RBI hits from Smoczynski and Katherine Witte.
“The conditions were the same for both teams and we haven’t had 12 strikeouts all year, let alone in one game,” Wheaton Academy coach Paul Gagliano said. “They played better in the elements than we did and they handled it better than we did. They scored three runs in the third and we didn’t answer.”
The Warriors (2-3, 2-1 SCC Gold) scored their lone run in the fourth after Sarah McClain reached on an error and eventually came around to score on Herring’s two-out, opposite field double.
The hit was the first of the game for Wheaton Academy as Smoczynski, a Wisconsin-Whitewater recruit, was in control.
“They came ready to play today. I’m just pleased with Smo – she was ready to pitch last week and the weather just didn’t cooperate. So maybe the extra days off to prepare helped her,” Rosary coach John Kazmierczak said. “The girls on both sides of the ball played pretty solid defense considering the conditions.”
Witte and Young were each 3 for 4 on the day as the Royals finished with 11 hits against Wheaton Academy starter Michelle Ridderhoff.
Herring had two of Wheaton Academy’s three hits on the afternoon.
“We’ve fallen a little behind in conference so this is a big win for us,” Smoczynski said. “We have a big goal – we’ve always been 9-11 in conference – so we want to beat that this year.”