Earlier in the week Downers South sophomore third baseman Megan LoBianco was having a conversation with a teacher’s aid about softball.
“I told her we won and that I hit a home run,” LoBiaco said. “She replied ‘You, a little 5-foot-3 girl can hit a home run like that?’.”
The answer was yes, and LoBianco needs to chat with that skeptical teacher again and tell her she did it again, and this time it was a game winner in a 6-2 come-from-behind non-conference win over No. 4 Naperville Central.
The No. 1 Mustangs (11-0) scored all six of their runs in the bottom of the sixth to erase a 2-0 deficit built behind the pitching of the Redhawks’ Julie Kestas, who allowed just four hits and no runs to that point.
Melissa Orton woke up the offense with her second home run of the season to leadoff the inning. Jessica Andree followed with her third hit and second double of the day, knocking Kestas out of the game for ace Keegan Hayes.
“I was just looking to get a hit and get things rolling and hoping my team would follow,” Orton said.
They did, despite the appearance of the usually dominating Hayes (3-2), who gave up five hits including LoBianco’s home run — a three-run shot to right center scoring Zahrya McFarland (2-for-3), and pitcher Caroline Hedgcock (field choice). Caitlyn Daly hit an RBI double to tie the game before she was forced out at third on Hedgcock’s sacrifice bunt attempt.
The Mustangs, now up 5-2, weren’t done. Pinch-hitter Nicole Bowman singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI single by Kristen Bialek. Hedgcock (7 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 SO, 0 BB) did the rest, retiring three of the four batters she face in the seventh.
“That first hit was a really big boost and then it was contagious,” Hedgcock said.
Hayes had two hits for the Redhawks (6-2), while Maddi Doane added a triple and a run scored. Lindsay Gonzalez added a double and an RBI in the third. Kaitlyn Skarecky scored the first run of the game in the second when she singled and scored on a fielder’s choice.
“I didn’t think it mattered who they brought in our bats just came alive,” Downers South coach Ron Havelka said. ”I thought that was the best game Hedgcock has pitched all year. Naperville Central is a great hitting team.”