STREATOR — The first victory of the season can be more than just a good start in the early part of the schedule. How it's earned can be a blueprint to follow for more wins down the line as the season progresses.
If the Streator High School softball team can learn to consistently repeat the three major facets it showed in collecting Thursday afternoon's 11-1, five-inning decision over Rochelle — good pitching, a flawless defense and an aggressive, opportunistic offense — there will be plenty more Ws in the future.
Ellie Magana was terrific in the circle, surrendering only two hits and no walks while striking out five to earn the victory, while also smacking two hits of her own, scoring twice and driving in another as the Lady Bulldogs scored early and often.
Maddie Barichello was also sizzling at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, Tessa McClellan chipped in a hit, two runs and three more RBIs and Mallory Aukland had two hits and a ribbie as SHS (1-3) also delivered the first win for new coach Dawn Williams with a special all-around performance.
"I'm very happy with the first win," said the beaming Williams. "Ellie was terrific today. She did a fantastic job on the mound for us. She worked really hard to move the ball around and hit different spots in the strike zone. I know one of her favorite pitches is her drop ball and that was working really well for her today.
"Our goal coming into this game was to score early. We've made good contact in some of our games this season and we have been putting some runs on the board, but the runs have come mostly in the later innings. It was really good to see the girls come out and get us in front early ... We just need to brush up a little on our base-running ... but this was a good win to get."
After Magana set the Lady Hubs down in order in the first, she helped her team get her the only runs she'd need in the circle by leading off the home portion against Rochelle starter Jessie Meyers with a single to center. McClellan sacrificed and the ball was erred once to move the runners up a base, then erred again to send Magana home. Barichello later plated another with an infield single.
But the difference maker came in the second when SHS posted five more runs.Singles by Aukland and Megan Gubbels and the first of three walks issued to sophomore No. 9 hitter Anna Schmitz loaded the bases. A wild pitch scored one and after Magana walked to refill the bags, McClellan walked to force home the second. An infield hit by Grace Schmitz and a two-run single to right by Barichello capped the outburst.
A sacrifice fly by McClellan in the third set up the game-ending margin in fourth, starting with a double by Barichello off the third RHS hurler, Bella Lodico. With two outs, Aukland singled in courtesy runner Kathleen Davis and after two walks loaded the bases again, Magana and McClellan drove in the clinchers with hits.
Magana, who had only given up a scratch infield single to Macy Luxton in the third, surrendered a legit one-out base hit to left by Faith Roush before getting the final two outs.
"She (Magana) moved the ball really well and that was something that we couldn't adjust to," said Rochelle coach Lindsay Nauman. "She had a good drop ball, a good rise ball and that's something we're going to have to continue to work on going forward this season ... Our pitchers looked OK, our defense was OK, but at the plate obviously we still have a lot to work on."
Streator 11, Rochelle 0 (5 inn.)
ROCHELLE (0) — Bunger ss 2-0-0-0, Haraga c-3b 2-0-0-0, Abdallah lf 2-0-0-0, Salinas cf 2-0-0-0, Meyers p-1b 2-0-0-0, Roush rf-p 2-0-1-0, Rorke 3b-c 2-0-0-0, Luxton dp 2-0-1-0, Collins 2b 0-0-0-0, Lodico 1b-p 1-0-0-0. Totals 17-0-2-0.
STREATOR (11) — Magana p 2-2-2-1, McClellan 2b 2-2-1-3, G. Schmitz 1b 3-0-1-1, Barichello c 3-0-3-3, Davis cr 0-1-0-0, Durdon cf 3-0-0-0, Adkins ss 3-0-0-0, Aukland lf 3-2-2-1, Gubbels rf 1-3-1-0, A. Schmitz 3b 0-1-0-0. Totals 20-11-10-9.
Rochelle 000 00 — 0 2 2
Streator 251 2x — 11 10 0
LOB — Rochelle 2, Streator 6. SF — Barichello. SAC — McClellan. SF — McClellan.
Rochelle ip r er h bb so
Meyers (L) 1.0 7 5 4 3 0
Roush 1.1 1 1 2 3 1
Lodico 1.2 3 3 4 2 1
Magana (W) 5.0 0 0 2 0 5