Bartlett’s big seventh inning stuns Plainfield Central

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Bartlett trailed by six runs for much of its game against Plainfield Central on Tuesday, but if you were within earshot of the Hawks’ bench you heard a team that sounded like it had the lead, laughing and joking with coaches.

“We always have fun. When you’re tense that’s when bad things happen,” Bartlett shortstop Kayla Haberstich said. “By staying loose it’s easier to make good things happen.”

Bartlett’s even-keeled approach paid off as the Hawks (2-0) scored seven runs in the seventh inning to win 10-9 over the Wildcats (0-1) in the second game of a double-header at the Dome in Rosemont.

Bartlett’s Elyse Hickey capped the win in the seventh with a two-out, RBI single to give the Hawks their first lead of the game. The left-handed, power-hitting freshman was called up from jayvee, entered the game in the fourth inning, and came through in the clutch.

“I was terrified but I settled in,” Hickey said. “The team has been very welcoming so that makes it easier. It was a lot of pressure but everyone helped me settle myself in.”

After No. 1 pitcher Holly Pagan pitched Bartlett to a 13-3 win over Joliet West in the day’s first game, Amy Johnson took the mound for the Hawks against Plainfield Central.

The Wildcats welcomed Johnson to the new season by scoring eight runs on eight hits in the game’s first inning. It was 8-3 by the third, as Johnson settled in and kept Plainfield’s bats silent through the fifth.

Alyssa Nowak took over in the circle for the final two innings of play.

“Both Amy and Alyssa are pitchers who need to focus on their spots,” Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. “They’re not going to beat you by overpowering you. They’ll beat you with movement and location. I thought Amy was a little bit tight to start the game and she was leaving it up where it could get hit. After that, she started hitting her spots and Alyssa did the same when she came in.”

With Bartlett trailing 9-3, Hickey led off the seventh with a double in the left-field gap. Katie Fornoff singled to drive Hickey in, and Lauren Janczak doubled down the right field line to score Fornoff.

The Bartlett rally included hits from Haberstich, Nowak, and Dana Paul before Hickey came up again and put the game-winning run on the board with her second hit in the inning.

Hickey could see time on jayvee moving forward but she opened everyone’s eyes on Tuesday.

“Everyone was telling me to be ready today,” Hickey said. “I was just trying to stay mentally prepared to come in and try to do my thing.”

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