WOODSTOCK – The offensive onslaught had been building all season for the Woodstock North softball team.
Searching for its first Fox Valley Conference Fox Division win Wednesday against rival Woodstock, the Thunder kept finding ways to get on base. Smart base running, timely hits and quite a few Woodstock errors fueled Woodstock North to a 14-5 FVC Fox win.
These two teams will meet again in the Woodstock North Regional quarterfinal game May 26.
"Little hits can get you there, and it worked out today," Thunder senior Sierra Meiners said. "We started off the season where we wouldn't get many runs in a game, but in the last few we've had eight, 10 runs in a game. That's a good ending for a season."
Woodstock (5-21, 2-10 FVC Fox) took the lead the first inning on senior pitcher Rachel Lohmeyer's RBI single. The Thunder (3-19, 1-9) answered in the top of the second thanks to the first of three RBIs from Paige Schnulle's run-scoring double. The crosstown rivals traded leads again with Woodstock going back ahead, 3-2, in the bottom of the second, scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
The Blue Streaks would lead by as many as three runs, 5-2, after a three-run fourth which featured a solo home run to right field by senior Shea Carzoli. That lead was their final of the game, and it was erased quickly by the Thunder in the fifth.
The Thunder scored four runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to blow open the game. Most frustrating for the Blue Streaks were the plethora of runs that were created by fielding errors or hits that didn't get out of the infield.
"I was kind of surprised with how everything unfolded," Woodstock assistant coach Jenn Koeser said. "In the last few games we've been playing better defense, holding teams to lower runs than we have been. To see how it unfolded was kind of disappointing especially on senior night."
Woodstock North used smart base running, always looking to take an extra base, and that pressure contributed to Woodstock's struggles. Woodstock North scored its 14 runs on 14 hits. Woodstock North starting pitcher Dakota Butler settled down as the game progressed and allowed only two hits and no runs in the final three innings.
Meiners collected three hits, scored four runs, stole two bases and drove in a run to lead the Thunder. Teammate Danielle Chamberlain went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. On senior night for Woodstock, Samantha Baker finished 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored while senior Rebecca Hardin hit a double and triple.
Thunder coach Pete Riis said that, at this point in the season, it's all about building momentum for the postseason.
"It's just keeping focused and hitting the ball," Riis said. "Every game, we're getting a little bit better."