ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles East softball team’s late-in-the-order thunder was on display Wednesday against Batavia.
The Saints’ No. 6 hitter, first baseman Kate Peterburs, and No. 8 hitter, second baseman Olivia Cheatham, both enjoyed huge days as East pummeled Batavia, 10-0, in a five-inning game that took less than an hour to play.
The win was the 10th in a row for the Saints (13-3, 7-2 UEC River).
“The two of those ladies, with how they’ve been swinging, would be anybody’s 2, 3 hitters on any other team, and I just have them hiding down in my batting order because I like what we have – we’ve got nine people producing,” East coach Kelly Horan said. “I’m pleasantly surprised with Cheatham. Kate was rock solid, a .400 hitter last year. I’m not really surprised by that at all.”
Cheatham circled the bases with unmistakable enthusiasm after belting a three-run home run to right field as part of East’s seven-run, bottom of the second. The Saints’ second baseman was especially amped considering it was her first home run at any level.
Making the blast all the more memorable, it came off Batavia sophomore Alicia Mueller – a friend of Cheatham’s from the Wasco Diamonds travel program.
“We like looked into each other’s eyes before [a pitch], and we both just tried not to laugh, kind of,” Cheatham said.
Things are clicking so smoothly for the Saints that what qualifies as a downer is Peterburs being denied a shot at the cycle. She had a single, triple and double in her first three at-bats but didn’t have a chance at a long ball since the game ended early because of the mercy rule.
Still, it was a heck of a day for Peterburs, who drove in four, including the game’s final two runs on her double in the fourth inning.
“It was mostly just keeping my nose down on the ball,” Peterburs said. “That’s what I work on when I’m at my batting lessons is just keeping my nose on the ball and my knuckles lined up and everything. Everything that I try to work on in practice, I try to bring it to the plate, and I guess it worked today.”
East did almost all of its offensive damage by going to right field.
“There’s nothing tricky about it,” Horan said. “If the pitches that the pitching coach is calling is 90 percent outside, then we’re going to look outside.”
Hard-throwing East right-hander Haley Beno (8-2) limited the Bulldogs to two hits, both singles, one of which coming on left fielder Ryanne Rokos’ bunt. Mueller had the other hit for the Bulldogs, who struck out 10 times.
The Bulldogs (2-9, 1-6 UEC River) have had difficulty steering clear of disastrous innings, with the bottom of the second Wednesday becoming the latest example.
“If we can stay out of that big inning, we’re pretty competitive,” first-year Batavia head coach Lupe Castellanos said.
In addition to the banner days for Cheatham and Peterburs, cleanup hitter Alex Latoria (2 for 3, RBI) and catcher Shelby Holtz (walks in both at-bats) also aided the Saints’ offense.
East’s well-balanced lineup will grow even deeper when Shannon Collalti (recovering from a concussion) returns in about a week, Horan said.
“That’s when it’s going to be scary with our 1 through 9,” she said.