Round one of the Battle of Oswego — softball version — went to the visiting Wolves Monday, courtesy of a three-run home run off the bat of Tiffany Palmatier.
The junior left fielder’s blast off Oswego starter Stephanie Prentice provided the winning margin for Oswego East in its 6-4 Southwest Prairie decision.
The game was a makeup of an earlier rainout. The teams complete the series Tuesday when they meet at Oswego East.
“It was a line drive to dead center,” Palmatier said of her second home run of the season. “I honestly don’t know what the pitch was. I think it was a screwgie, but I don’t really worry about that. I just try and watch the ball all the way in and usually look for something in and try to drive it left. (Prentice) is one of the faster pitchers we’ve faced. I prefer faster pitchers because when you hit it, it goes farther.”
The visiting Wolves struck early, scoring twice in the top of the first on a two-run single by first baseman Rachel VanderWagen.
Brittany Warnecke, batting ahead of Palmatier, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, which was followed by the long ball.
Oswego East starter and winner Alex Morgan (10-6) breezed into the top of the seventh with a 6-2 lead but got into a jam by issuing a leadoff walk to Brooke Riess. After Ally Miller lined to Warnecke, Jordan McDonough reached on an infield throwing error, which was followed by Ashley Blocker’s ground single up the middle to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate.
Morgan got the second out on a soft liner to Warnecke just in front of the bag at second, but Kirsty Tracy followed by lining a two-run single down the left field line to pull the hosts within two. Morgan got out of the jam, retiring No. 3 hitter Jessy Lofthouse on a deep fly to center that the Wolves’ Jordan Klingbeil was able to track down.
“The key today was the early hits and being able to bring in those runs,” said Oswego East coach Laura Nussle. “We just left too many baserunners on later in the game.
The Wolves, who swept a non-conference doubleheader Saturday with Downers Grove South, are 14-8 overall, 4-6 in the league.
“Our defense was also a big factor,” said Nussle. “Our outfielders hit the cuts and kept them from scoring in some situations like in that last inning (on Tracy’s hit). Having the bases loaded and limiting them to two runs was big.”