STREATOR — Those showing up to the softball diamond at the SHS Athletic Fields for Friday's Interstate Eight Conference game between Sandwich and Streator were greeted with a strong gusty wind blowing straight in from center field, which may have placed the thought of a low-scoring game in their minds.
The Lady Indians put that idea to rest — and they did it in a hurry.
Sandwich sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run first frame and added five more tallies in the second. That was more than enough cushion for southpaw starter Grace Schimdt, as the junior allowed just a pair of walks and a lone hit in the Lady Indians' 12-1 triumph over the Lady Bulldogs in five innings.
"We came out swinging from the start, and that was a big key today," said Sandwich coach Mattie McGuire, who was celebrating her birthday. "We have been focusing a lot on our hitting throughout the season, but especially lately. When we hit the ball like we can and like we did today, that's when it seems our defense picks things up as well. The girls get excited and we just play like we can.
"We need to maintain how we played today ... this can't be the peak. We are on a three-game winning streak right now, and we just need to keep it going."
Sandwich (7-6, 6-3) began the game with Brianna Avery reaching on a bunt single and moving to second on a fielder's choice turned safe all-around grounder by Schmidt. Lixy Lopez then coaxed a walk from starting and losing pitcher Aubrey Durdan to load the bases.
A Streator fielding error allowed Avery to score, and Tara Bohnstedt followed with an RBI single to center to make it 2-0. Three consecutive miscues by the Lady Bulldogs and a run-scoring groundout by Avery pushed the advanatge to 6-0.
Then, after Schmidt set the hosts down in order in the bottom of the frame, Sandwich picked up where it left off. Megan Schwartz lined a one-out double to left-center off of SHS reliever Ellie Magana just ahead of Bohnstedt's home run to straightaway left. The Lady Indians continued to roll, getting a two-out single from Hailey Ruhl, RBI double off the bat of Brianna Bell and base hits from Maddie Card and Avery to make it 11-0.
"So, can we just get rid of the first and second innings today?" asked Streator coach Dawn Williams. "Sandwich came out very aggressive and hit the ball hard, but we also made some errors that helped them out. We talked after the game that in that first inning we were throwing the ball behind runners or not to the base that it needed to go and just not thinking ahead to what we were going to do with the ball when it was hit to us. We had some girls in different spots, but they still need to know where to go with the ball."
Streator (6-13, 3-7) scored its only run of the afternoon in the third as Anna Yanek walked, went to second on Megan Gubbels' single to right and to third on an outfield error. Yanek then came home on a bunt by Tessa McClellan.
The Lady Indians closed out the scoring in the fifth when Avery lined a triple to center and scored on an errant throw from the outfield.
Schmidt retired nine of the last 10 batters she faced, with help from a pair of dazzling diving catches from Bell at second and Avery in center, and finished with a trio of strikeouts.
"Grace pitched really well and her defense did a great job of backing her up," McGuire said. "Brianna Bell, who was playing her first game at second base and is a sophomore that has been splitting time between the varsity and JV, was thrown into that spot and made a couple of great defensive plays for us. She came out and proved herself for sure."
At SHS Athletic Fields, Streator
Sandwich 12, Streator 1 (5 inn.)
SANDWICH (12) — Avery cf 4-2-3-1, Schmidt p 4-0-0-0, Thulin cr 0-1-0-0, Lopez lf 3-1-0-0, Schwartz ss 3-2-1-1, Bohnstedt 1b 3-2-2-3, Knepper 3b 3-1-0-1, Ruhl rf 3-1-2-1, Bell 2b 3-1-1-1, Card c 3-1-1-1. Totals 29-12-10-9.
STREATOR (1) — McClellan rf/lf 1-0-0-1, Aukland 3b 2-0-0-0, Barichello c 2-0-0-0, Schmitz 1b 2-0-0-0, Durdan p/cf 2-0-0-0, Adkins 2b 2-0-0-0, Yanek ss 0-1-0-0, Gubbels lf/rf 2-0-1-0, Davis rf 0-0-0-0, Magana p 2-0-0-0. Totals 15-1-1-1.
Sandwich (7-6, 6-3) 650 01 — 12 10 1
Streator (6-13, 3-7) 001 00 — 1 1 6
LOB — Sandwich 3, Streator 2. 2B — Schwartz, Bell. 3B — Avery. HR — Bohnstedt. SB — Avery, Gubbels. SAC — McClellan.
Sandwich ip r er h bb k
Schmidt (W) 5.0 1 0 1 2 3
Durdan (L) 1.0 6 3 2 1 1
Magana 4.0 8 6 5 0 1