Softball: St. Charles East ties SCN for DuKane lead behind Hautzinger's gem
Solid pitching, nearly flawless defense and timely hitting.
Those ingredients added up to a 4-0 victory for St. Charles East over rival St. Charles North in DuKane Conference action at St. Charles North Thursday afternoon in hot and humid conditions.
East swept the season series against the North Stars and tied St. Charles North for the conference lead. Lake Park is a game behind at 9-3.
Sophomore Grace Hautzinger spun a gem for the Saints (21-3, 10-2).
Hautzinger, St. Charles East's No. 2 starter, blanked the North Stars (16-3, 10-2) on 3 singles. The sophomore struck out 7 without allowing a walk in 7 innings of work.
She induced 6 pop-ups and a double play from the North Stars.
"It was hot but I just had to get over that," said Hautzinger. "My rise ball was really working. I was mixing up my pitches and my defense made the plays behind me. They are our rivals. It is always nice to beat them."
St. Charles East coach Jarod Gutesha was pleased with Hautzinger's effort.
"She is a solid No. 2 pitcher," said Gutesha. "She threw strikes and she threw strike one. She hits her spots and she had good movement on her pitches."
The Saints benefitted from two North Star errors to score two runs in the third inning.
St. Charles East, which committed 1 error, scored a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on an RBI double by Cici Wilson and a run-scoring single by Chloe Hild.
"It is always good to beat North," said Gutesha. "They are our rivals. We swung the bats well and are playing well with the regionals coming up."
North got solid pitching from freshman Paige Murray. Murray allowed 4 runs, 2 unearned on 5 hits. She struck out 6 without allowing a walk in 7 innings of work.
The North Stars committed 3 errors behind Murray.
"We wasted a great pitching effort from Paige," said North Stars coach Tom Poulin.
"She was outstanding. It was a disappointing effort. We played bad softball today and it was a shame. We played uncharacteristically today. We took a lot of third strikes, dropped 2 fly balls and didn't run the bases well. The good thing we are gaining experience. You have to give (St. Charles) East credit."