Normal West, CCHS, NCHS, U High
A strong pitching performance and Michelle Henderson's hot bat kept the Normal West High School softball team undefeated Monday.
Henderson had a home run among her three hits and drove in five runs while Jenn Murray and Sarah Washburn combined to strike out 15 batters in the Wildcats' 7-0 victory over host Central Catholic.
Normal West scored a single run in each of the first three innings before Henderson padded the lead in the fifth, rocketing a ball to the fence with a runner on base for an inside-the-park homer.
"She had an amazing day at the plate, with three hits and five RBIs," West coach April Schermann said of Henderson's performance. "Every hit was a hard hit ball. She was on today."
The Wildcats added two more runs in the top of the sixth to secure their 11th victory in 11 tries.
"We are 11-0 and my girls are swinging the bats right now," said Schermann. "I'm very pleased, the rest of the coaches are pleased and the girls are very happy. It's a lot of fun to watch them play.
"Last year, we weren't putting up the runs we are now. I attribute that to a lot of hard work this season and in the offseason."
The Saints had two runners on in each of the first two innings, but Murray (8-0) managed to work out of the jams and shut Central Catholic down the rest of the way. She allowed just two hits - a single and a double to opposing pitcher Kelsey Shay - and racked up 11 strikeouts in five innings.
"Jenn Murray was really tough," said Central coach Mark Demboski, whose team slipped to 5-4. "She threw an excellent game at us today."
With Shay due to bat in the sixth, Schermann called on the left-handed Washburn to finish out the contest.
"Sarah faced seven batters and struck out four. Both of our pitchers did an excellent job of keeping Central Catholic's batters off balance," said Schermann.
Cymone Allen added a pair of hits and Caiti Kopp had an RBI for the Wildcats.
"We just ran up against a very good team today," said Demboski. "April has her girls playing very well and they have a nice mix of speed and power."
Chatham Glenwood 1, Normal Community 0
Normal Community pitcher Amber May deserved a better fate against Glenwood.
May struck out 19 batters and scattered just six hits, but was charged with the loss when the Titans scored an unearned run in the top of the 11th inning at Normal.
"Pretty much everything was working for her," said NCHS coach Bob Grimes, whose team fell to 8-3. "She gave up six hits but they were spread out. The 19 strikeouts showed she really did a nice job.
"(Glenwood) didn't have any errors and we did (three). We hit the ball hard but they made some great plays. I was pleased overall - it was a great pitchers' duel - but it just came down to the errors."
Glenwood (8-4) got two hits to lead off the 11th and when the next batter bunted, the play was mishandled, allowing the eventual winning run to score. It was the first loss in eight games for May (7-1), who walked just one batter.
Glenwood's Lou Haney (8-2) allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out 12.
Tri-Valley 3, University High 2
Jaydon Hinthorne's single in the bottom of the ninth capped a three-run rally as Tri-Valley edged U High at Downs.
Both teams were held scoreless through eight innings before the Pioneers scored twice in the ninth on a dropped fly ball with the bases loaded.
Kate McNeese got the Vikings (8-2) on the board in the bottom half with an RBI double. Pitcher Kelsey Epping helped her own cause with an RBI single to tie the game. One batter later, Hinthorne smashed a base hit up the middle to drive in the winning run.
Epping (7-2) struck out 18 batters over nine innings and allowed just three hits.