Metea Valley out-hit South Elgin by a 9-5 margin and Mustangs pitcher Jenna Hall struck out eight batters in a steady Upstate Eight performance Saturday.
But numbers never tell the whole story.
Down two runs heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, host South Elgin scored four runs to take a 5-3 lead that stood up for Storm pitcher Karli Dobler, in relief of starter Paige Allen.
Hall was in control through four innings before walking the Storm’s Alex Rogalla to lead off the fifth. Mallory Mecklenburg reached on an error before Cassidy Westlund’s 2-RBI single tied the game at 3-3.
“It was a matter of seeing [Hall] a couple of times and adjusting, knowing what she was going to throw to me,” Westlund said. “She was throwing me outside pitches so I just took it and drove it to right.”
Westlund later scored on a single by Sam Helton, who also scored to make it 5-3 on a triple by Brittany Koss.
“[Westlund] had a big hit for us,” South Elgin coach Stephanie Katzenberger said. “She consistently hits the ball hard for us and has done a real good job. And Brittany Koss hit a beautiful triple.”
Metea Valley (3-14, 2-8) took a 1-0 lead on third-inning single by Kara Leckinger that scored Fran Senese. South Elgin answered in its half of the third when Rachel Ziemba singled, stole second and third, and scored on a throwing error.
Senese reached on a bunt to lead off the fifth and Mustangs center fielder Alise Perna gave her side a 3-1 lead with a 2-run blast over the fence in right-center.
Dobler took over for Allen to finish off the inning and held Metea to one hit and no runs in a little over two innings of relief. Katzenberger brought the sophomore Dobler up to varsity a few weeks ago and she has been unflappable.
“She has not come in and seemed intimidated at all,” Katzenberger said. “She doesn’t show a lot of emotion out there and has not looked rattled once.”
Sprinkled throughout the game for South Elgin (10-11, 4-7) was some terrific fielding by Storm third baseman Taylor Ford, who dug hard-hit balls out of the dirt, charged aggressively, and blocked a sixth-inning shot off the bat of Metea’s Lisa Harrington before picking it up and throwing Harrington out to end the sixth inning.
Metea Valley continues to show solid potential in the face of uneven play.
“We’re real young and we have our good innings and our bad innings where we struggle,” Metea coach Kris Kalivas said. “Unfortunately we had one bad one today and it cost us.
“I thought Jenna pitched a real nice game today. She had the hitters off-balance, good control, hitting her spots. So that was a tough one for her.”