BATAVIA – An audible groan emanated from the St. Charles North dugout Wednesday as senior Sabrina Rabin's blast to left field smacked off the wall.
Rabin has been a hit machine throughout her four-year varsity career, but the blazing-fast senior only has one career home run, which came during her sophomore season.
"Every time I hit the fence I'm like 'Oh, dang it, one more Wheatie or something,' but that's alright, it was still a good at-bat," Rabin said. "And it'll come."
Rabin's near-miss was about as far as North's frustration went in a dominating performance for the North Stars, who drilled Batavia, 16-2, in five innings.
"She's had a handful off the fence," said St. Charles North assistant coach Thijs Dennison, filling in for the ill Tom Poulin. "She hit a bases loaded one off the fence a couple weeks ago. She tells me if it's 185 [feet out] I hit it off the fence, if it's 230 I hit it off the fence. Just unlucky, but she's hitting the ball hard."
Rabin led an offensive onslaught for the North Stars, tripling, doubling, singling and driving home four runs in three at-bats before bring replaced as North (18-6, 14-2 Upstate Eight Conference River) substituted generously after roaring to a 13-0 lead by the middle of the second inning.
When the North Stars weren't bashing the ball, they were strolling to first base. North drew 11 walks and a hit batsman as Batavia pitchers Alyssa Klemm and Rachael Lovestrand struggled with their location.
It was the first game in about two weeks for Lovestrand, returning from a concussion. Lovestrand replaced Klemm in the top of the first before Klemm re-entered the game during the second inning.
"When you face a good-hitting team like that, you can't give them anything free," Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said. "Those extra walks in between – you've got to make them earn it. They're going to hit the ball hard so if you give them those free passes they're going to put runs up on the scoreboard on you."
North cleanup hitter Abby Howlett homered for the second straight day, a deep drive to left that ricocheted off a tree. Howlett later added a double and drove in three runs while left fielder Abi Ginther also notched three RBIs for North, which remained even in the loss column with St. Charles East atop the UEC River.
Batavia (8-17, 6-10 UEC River) scored its runs in the bottom of the third, stringing four straight hits together off North senior Katie Roggemann, who pitched the final four innings for the North Stars, replacing Rabin.
Shortstop Toni Galas, first baseman Natalie Offutt and catcher Christina Karius had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.
North third baseman Erin Nemetz reached base in each of her three at-bats before stepping aside. There was little else that could have gone the North Stars' way unless Rabin's drive cleared the fence.
"It's always fun to see that tiny, little slapper hit the ball over the fence," Nemetz said. "That's always really fun to watch. Hopefully she'll get one here soon."