PERU — After a tense first inning Tuesday night, the Lady Bruins’ bats woke up delivering them a 7-1 win against Somonauk in the first round of the St. Bede 2A softball regional.
Starting pitcher Lainie Schweickert pitched all seven innings earning a win against the Lady Panthers talented freshman Bayley Krantz. St. Bede catcher Lydia Stariha recorded her first career home run in the effort.
The Lady Bruins will play in Saturday’s championship game, drawing the winner of Wednesday’s Princeton-Mendota game.
“It’s something everybody on the team has really wanted since the first practice. I got a taste of it this year in basketball and you just want to feel it again and go further,” Stariha said.
Somonauk loaded the bases in the first inning but Schweickert managed to get out of the inning unscathed.
“It was really hot in the first inning. I definitely settled in after that. I got loose,” said Schweickert, adding having pressure build early helped get the Lady Bruins going.
“We want to hold them to a minimum of runs. We, obviously got out of the first inning with no runs so, that’s always good. But, we got pumped up. We were also hitting very well, too. Lydia got her first home run. That was good,” added Schweickert, who had nine strikeouts.
“You can’t overlook any team. They came out strong you know taking advantage of different plays and I am really happy our team was able to get out of (the inning) with no real damage done,” Stariha said.
“It was a nice beginning…Mo Dean getting a nice hit and starting us off. That’s what you need,” SBA coach Bill Prokup said. “I think the seniors did well for us today including Abby Nowakowski who had a couple of good hits. I am glad to get this one under our belt.”
The game was scoreless entering the bottom of the second inning. Mo Dean led off firing a base hit into left field. Dean then took second on a passed ball. Tara Kunkel followed by reaching first on a fielder’s choice with Dean subsequently scoring on a bad throw from short to first base.
With Kunkel in scoring position, Abby Nowakowski hit a single to get the RBI. Nowakowski worked the bases and when Christine Daley rolled one to first base, Nowakowski scored while Daley was thrown out at first.
Two batters later, Stariha faced Krantz with two away and cranked a line drive home run to left-center field to put the Bruins up 4-0. She had never homered before and had to be instructed by her dad, St. Bede first base coach Mike Stariha, to slow down when she came around the base.
“I really wasn’t aiming to hit one. I didn’t know it until my dad told me. I was really excited because it’s my first one ever…at any level,” she said.
The Bruins added some insurance in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs on three hits and stranding one base runner.
The Panthers only run came on an RBI double from Marissa Guzmon in the top of the sixth inning.