Through six innings Saturday at Andrew, Lincoln-Way West’s Morghan Dieringer was absolutely dealing in the circle to the tune of a 7-0 lead.
But in the bottom of the seventh, the host Thunderbolts’ bats finally came to life, the seven-run lead shrunk to three in a flash.
Dieringer didn’t freak out, didn’t panic. A junior and three-year starter, she went about her work.
“I think I’m just more confident in myself and my team,” Dieringer said. “Our offense keeps getting better, and that gives me confidence knowing they’ll hit for me.”
Dieringer retired the next two batters to close out her complete-game winner in Lincoln-Way West’s 7-4 SouthWest Suburban Red road win over Andrew. She allowed four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Shutting out Andrew through six innings, Dieringer scattered three hits before finally hitting a rough patch in the seventh. The Thunderbolts strung together three straight singles with Jenna Lenza capitalizing, smashing a huge bomb over the left field fence.
“I had to stay focused,” Dieringer said. “You can’t think about it, and I just had to get the outs.”
First baseman Rachel Luckett made a nice catch in windy conditions in foul territory to retire the next batter with Dieringer striking out Megan Ricketts to end the game.
Sam Magruder (2-for-4, RBI, run) and Jess Kaemerer (two runs) led a Lincoln-Way West (9-2, 1-0) offense that slapped out 11 hits and drew two walks. Kaci Krumreich smashed a pinch-hit two-run single in the third to put West up 4-0.
Kaemerer hit a solo homer in the sixth and Kayla Seymour added a two-run single in the seventh to give the Warriors a 7-0 advantage.
“We’re trying for a different mentality this year, and we believe in everyone in the lineup,” Magruder said.
Kelly Christner finished 2-for-3 with a run scored for Andrew (9-3, 1-1) with Lenza (four RBI) going 1-for-4.
“West beat us in pitching, field, quality at-bats, and execution,” Andrew coach Jim Holba said. “This was a game they deserved to win. We just didn’t play to our ability.”