ST. CHARLES – St. Charles East softball coach Kelly Horan is a little superstitious.
So when asked what she thought of senior pitcher Haley Beno’s performance Wednesday – two runs, only one earned, on five hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts – Horan didn’t want to jinx anything.
“Beno’s been doing good,” she said, smiling.
If Beno keeps throwing this well, there might be no jinx or violation of softball superstition that can stop her. The 8-2 win for St. Charles East over South Elgin went as Beno’s fourth victory of the year. And though the pitcher was critical of herself, teammates were thrilled with another strong outing from the senior.
“Haley’s great,” senior left fielder Sarah Collalti said. “She always does us a solid out there on the mound. You always can expect a low number from the other team offensively. We just try our best to back her up and get her enough runs to get the ‘W.’ ”
It’s a formula that worked well for the Saints (6-2, 4-0 Upstate Eight Conference River) on Wednesday. In addition to Beno being her dominant self – at one point she struck out five straight batters, and South Elgin scored its only earned run with two outs in the seventh – the East offense chipped in plenty. After pushing across a pair in the first three innings, the floodgates opened in the later innings. The Saints scored six runs on 10 hits in the fifth and sixth innings.
Collalti finished with three hits, a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. The Saints got another three-hit day from shortstop Olivia Cheatham, who also scored three times. Senior center fielder Tess Hupe, sophomore right fielder Katie Kolb and freshman second baseman Jordan Hieber each picked up two hits.
“We’re a very strong offensive team,” Collalti said. “We’ve been doing well since the start of last year, and coach Horan’s done a really nice job of pushing and pushing and keep having us working toward extra runs all the time. Everyone was really excited for the game today, so everyone was pumped and bringing their best.”
When you put it all together, the win showed off East’s all-around strength.
“It was real solid,” Horan said. “I was really pleased with most aspects of the game. There’s little stuff we’re going to work on. That’s nice because you don’t want to go into the conference season thinking you have tons of stuff to work on. We’ve got to get better. We will get better. And it’s nice that we’re still learning about what we need to work on.”