ST CHARLES – For the most part, the St. Charles North and Geneva softball teams kept the ball in the stadium on Knocking Cancer Out of the Park day Wednesday.
Both teams relied on singles, sacrifices and stolen bases to push runners across the plate.
North was more successful at it, however, in beating the Vikings, 7-2, in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division game.
Only Annika Radabaugh’s bases-empty homer in the top of the second left the park. Her shot went over the fence just to the right of the 210-foot sign in center field, giving the Vikings their first run of the day and tying the game at 1.
The North Stars, who scored a run in the first on a walk, fielder’s choice and a Geneva error, retook the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the second in a similar way. Their second run came on a walk, a hit batter, a sacrifice bunt and a groundout.
Geneva (13-8, 6-5 UEC River) retied the game at 2 in its half of the fourth on three consecutive singles.
North (15-6, 11-2) finally broke the game open in the fourth.
“I thought it was a matter of time,” North coach Tom Poulin said. “We had at-bats [in the first three innings] that were thinking at-bats. We want to adjust our approach at each at-bat and remember the sequence they attacked us and adjust. I just wanted to make sure that we didn’t give them opportunities because they are a good team and they will take advantage of them.”
The team made the most of a walk and five singles off relief pitcher Emily Plocinski to score four runs and take a 6-2 lead.
“I thought we played pretty well [Wednesday]. The fourth inning made a big difference in the game, but I thought we had good swings the whole day,” Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. “They got some people on right away against us in that inning and we were sort of on our heels for the whole inning there.”
Plocinski replaced starting pitcher Rachel Fanella, who threw for the first three innings.
“That’s been our strategy this week to switch up halfway through,” Dierks said. “We have a busy week.”
The North Stars scored their last run in the sixth on a Delaney Olinger double, the only other extra base hit of the game.
Sabrina Rabin went the distance for North for her 10th win against five losses. The right hander scattered seven hits and issued only one walk over seven innings.
“I thought she got stronger as the game went on,” Poulin said. “The ball started to jump in the fifth and sixth innings.”
The game, which was delayed more than an hour by lightning, was also a fundraiser for breast cancer research.