BATAVIA – Taking advantage of its speed, strong pitching, solid defense and a big day at the plate from sophomore Abby Howlett, the St. Charles North softball team rolled to a 6-0 win against Batavia in in Upstate Eight Conference River play on Friday.
“I am just happy I’ve been able to hit the ball well and help the team win,” Howlett said after going 3-for-4 with four RBIs. “I am just really focusing on what pitch I want to hit and just driving the ball hard.”
Howlett, hitting around .440 entering the game, hit a two-out, two-run double in the first inning, scoring Sabrina Rabin and Mickey Goetz. And with her team up 4-0 in the seventh inning, Howlett singled in Kaitlyn Waslawski and Goetz to give North (9-4, 5-2) some insurance over the Bulldogs (2-10, 1-7).
“She has a bright future for a sophomore,” North Stars coach Tom Poulin said of Howlett.
“I’m pleased with our production,” he added. “I think we can be more productive with two outs and runners in scoring position. The last handful of games we left a lot of people on base. But I’m nitpicking. We’re doing well.”
The North Stars banged out 11 hits off Batavia starter Alicia Mueller. And when they got on, the North Stars usually went in motion, stealing seven bases, three each by Rabin and Goetz.
“I think our speed is one of our biggest assets,” Poulin said. “We can manufacture some runs. That is what we have to do. We’ll send anybody and make [the other] team make plays. We want to be aggressive on the bases.”
Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said the North Stars’ speed at the plate and on the bases causes major problems.
“It is pretty difficult when girls have speed like that,” he said. “You have to be perfect. If you make one mistake, they’re going to be safe. You have to catch it and get rid of it quick. We practiced that alot. The girls did a good job.”
Mueller went the distance, allowing four earned runs on two walks and one strikeout.
Rabin pitched a complete game for North, giving up five hits while striking out six. She improved to 7-2 on the season.
“We feel comfortable when we get a lead,” Howlett said. “We are glad we can give [Rabin] a good lead so she can feel good pitching and not be stressed.”
Rabin was 2 for 3 with a walk and three runs scored, Waslawski 2 for 4 and Goetz 3 for 4 with two runs scored.
Katie Ryan led Batavia with a single and a double.
“The girls did a lot better job,” said Castellanos, whose team lost, 10-0, to St. Charles East its last time out. “Our defense was a lot better.
“Our offense still is stagnant. We had opportunities with runners [in scoring position], we just didn’t come up with a big hit. When you play good teams like North, you have to earn it. They are not going to make a lot of mistakes.”