By Allen Oshinski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/11/2022 8:38 PM
South Elgin scored early and often to open the conference season.
The Storm put up 2 touchdowns in downing Bartlett, 14-5, in the Upstate Eight opener for both team in Bartlett. Sammie Jimenez led the barrage, going 4-for-4 with a home run and 5 RBI.
The Storm scored 4 times in the first inning and never looked back. South Elgin scored in every inning until the seventh, when the Storm left the bases loaded.
Jimenez had plenty of help. Leadoff hitter Cara Cruthers had 2 hits, walked 3 times, and scored 4 runs for South Elgin. Hannah Harms doubled, singled and scored 3 times. Anna Kiel had 2 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs scored. Madison Hunt drove in 3 runs. Ava McDaniel and Madaline Firmstone had 2 hits apiece for the Storm (7-2 overall).
Winning pitcher CeCe Bell allowed just 1 run and 4 hits through 4 innings before the Hawks finally got to her in the fifth. Kiel came on in relief and got the final 8 outs.
The Storm jumped ahead early with consecutive run-scoring singles by Jimenez and McDaniel and Hunt’s 2-run double. After plating single runs in the second and third, the Storm added 3 more in the fourth thanks to some shaky Bartlett defense. The visitors broke the game wide open with a 4-spot in the fifth keyed by Jimenez’s 3-run blast to right center.
The Storm appreciated the early offense, “especially against Bartlett, any time you can score in the first and put them in a little bit of a hole,” said South Elgin coach Brad Reynard. “Luckily, we’ve been doing that all year. We’ve been swinging the bats really well. Just a huge win for us today.”
“I think that [first inning] was really big for us,” Jimenez said. “I think it was a big confidence boost for all of us, and it took the nerves away.”
South Elgin led 13-1 after the big fifth inning. Down to their final 3 outs, the Hawks (3-5 overall) rallied to keep the game going, scoring 4 runs of their own in the bottom half.
Nicole Young drove in the first run of the inning, scoring Lauren Liguori with a double to left center. Losing pitcher Addie Koth knocked in another run with a fielder’s choice, and Olivia Liguori’s 2-run triple scored 2 more runs and kept the game alive.
“Our kids are resilient,” said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. “They’ve been like this all season: we get down, a team scores on us, we come right back. I love that about this team: they’re resilient.”