BATAVIA – The St. Charles East softball pitching tandem of Haley Beno and Jordan Hall threw a near perfect game Wednesday.
Beno, the ace of East’s pitching staff, and Hall, a recent call up, faced only 16 batters and allowed only one hit as the Saints blanked Batavia 13-0 in five innings.
East’s offense scored 11 unanswered runs in the first two innings to ensure a win in the Upstate Eight River Conference game by the 10-run mercy rule.
“I thought right from the beginning we had a very business-like attitude,” East coach Kelly Horan said. “We put the ball in play and executed the small things. I felt that got us going.”
“It was a good bounce back for the team,” said Katie Kolb, who batted in two runs in the first with a double. The Saints dropped a 5-1 decision Tuesday to St Charles North.
Batavia’s leadoff batter Ryanne Rokos scratched out an infield single against Beno, who started for the Saints, in the bottom of the first. The junior was erased from the base path when she was doubled up on a line out by Bulldog starting pitcher Rachael Lovestrand.
Hall replaced Beno in the third inning.
“We’re not deep. We have 13 kids, 12 healthy, so she is going to play,” said Horan about bringing in Hall. “It built confidence with her teammates and with the coaches. I’m excited for her. “
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Batavia (6-11, 3-7 UEC River) finally got another base runner. East shortstop Olivia Cheatham had to go deep in the hole to field a Christina Karius ground ball. Karius was safe when Cheatam’s hurried throw got past first baseman Kelly Rinker.
Karius was unable to advance as Hall retired the next two batters to end the game.
Beno earned the win, raising her record to 10-4.
Solid hitting and aggressive base running, combined with a shaky Batavia defense in the first two innings gave the Saints (19-5, 9-2) their commanding lead. East sent 19 batters to the plate in their first two at bats, rapped out eight hits and stole five bases while the Bulldogs committed four errors.
“At the start of the game maybe we were little bit tight because we were playing St. Charles East, which we know in the past has had a pretty good program,” said Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos. “We got to be a little more focused and a little bit more ready to play at the start. With errors, you open the door for those big innings.”
Lovestrand, who took the loss, and Batavia’s defense settled down and allowed only two more East runs in the remaining three innings.
“Rachael didn’t pitch all that bad to be honest with you,” Castellanos said. “We need to make more plays on the defense.”
Freshman Jordan Hieber was 3 for 3 for the Saints with two singles and a double.