High school softball: McHenry powers past Hampshire behind McDaniel's 3 homers

HAMPSHIRE – After McHenry's Madison McDaniel hit three home runs in her first four at-bats Monday, Hampshire coach Kelly Wasilewski was not going to let McDaniel get a chance at a fourth.

With the score tied at 9, Wasilewski chose to intentionally walk the Warriors' No. 8 hitter to lead off the top of the eighth inning. The next batter, Julia Druml, reached on an infield hit. A groundout to first base off the bat of Ashley Zoephel moved both runners up.

Taylor Zoephel then hit a sharp groundball to shortstop Morgan Haefling, beating the throw to first and allowing McDaniel to score the go-ahead run. Jocelyn Currie followed with a hard single, scoring Druml.

Sophomore pitcher Kyra Lard, making her first varsity start, stranded runners on first and second base in the bottom half as the Warriors came away with an 11-9 win in the teams' Fox Valley Conference game.

After Hampshire's Bridget Haefling delivered a game-tying, two-run single down the first-base line in the seventh, Wasilewski had to make a difficult choice with McDaniel leading off the eighth inning.

"I kind of went back and forth with it, but I didn't know where else to throw to her," Wasilewski said. "She just hit everything today. She could have hit another home run. She could have gotten out. It's just the chance you take. We took the chance, and she scored anyway."

McDaniel hit solo home runs in the second and fifth innings. With the score tied at 6 and runners on second and third base with one out in the sixth, McDaniel had thoughts of laying down a bunt.

"I was thinking maybe I can bunt, because the third baseman was pretty far back," the senior left fielder said. "[McHenry coach Mikaela Mitsch] looked at me like, 'Are you crazy?' But I guess it all worked out."

McDaniel's third homer, a three-run shot, was her longest of the day, easily clearing the left-field fence. Not really known for her power, McDaniel cannot recall a game quite like Monday's.

But she has a pretty good idea of what led to her career day for McHenry (2-3, 1-0 FVC).

"I ate a whole box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch on the bus and felt pretty good after – the family-sized one," McDaniel said. "Knowing I've got a really great group of girls supporting me, and they're going to be cheering me no matter what, really boosts my confidence. I went up there without any worries."

McDaniel went 3 for 4 with five RBIs and five runs scored. McHenry had 21 hits, with seven players recording multiple hits. Ashley Zoephel had two doubles and two RBIs, Lauren Schmitz had a two-run homer, Jocelyn Currie went 4 for 6 with an RBI, and Kate Funk had three singles.

"I'm excited," said Currie, a Loyola commit. "Last year, we struggled, but I think we're going to have a really good season. I see a lot of heart on this team. We have a different mindset to play as one."

Lard went all eight innings in her first start, allowing six earned runs on 12 hits. Katie Del Re took the loss in relief for Hampshire (3-5, 0-1). Shai-Ann Currie was 4 for 4, Del Re drove in two, and Morgan Haefling had a double and two RBIs.


Madison McDaniel, McHenry, sr., OF

McDaniel, batting eighth, hit three homers with five RBIs and five runs scored.


21: Hits for McHenry


McDaniel scored the go-ahead run after being walked intentionally to start the eighth.

McHenry 11, Hampshire 9 (8 inn.)

McHenry 041 013 02 – 11 21 3

Hampshire 060 001 20 – 9 12 2

WP: Lard (8IP, 12H, 9R, 6ER, 4K, 3BB). LP: Del Re (7IP, 15H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 4K). 

Top hitters–McHenry: McDaniel 3-4 (3HR, 5RBI, 5R), A. Zoephel 3-6 (2 2B, 2RBI), J. Currie 4-6 (RBI), Funk 3-5 (2R), Schmitz 1-5 (HR, 2RBI, R), Druml 2-4 (2R) T. Zoephel 2-6 (RBI), Boysen 2-6 (R). Hampshire: Bowen 1-4 (2B, 2RBI), S. Currie 4-4 (RBI, R), Hall 1-4 (2RBI, R), B. Haefling 1-4 (2RBI, R), Del Re 2-5 (2RBI). 

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