MARENGO – Lauren Aubry's first three at-bats against Woodstock North's Ellie Thurow each ended without a ball leaving the infield.
After Marengo loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, Aubry put her best swing on a ball, driving Thurow's second pitch over right fielder Mackenzie Salazar's outstretched glove and hitting the bottom of the fence.
Christy Lee and Hannah Ritter raced home to score, and the Indians came back to beat the Thunder, 4-3, in the teams' Kishwaukee River Conference game Tuesday. The win snapped a six-game losing streak for Marengo (11-11, 3-2 KRC).
Aubry swung at the first pitch from Thurow before getting a pitch farther out on the plate that was more to her liking. She didn't hold back, going the other way after pulling the ball in her first three at-bats.
"[Indians coach Dwain Nance] told me to be patient and wait for my pitch," Aubry said. "I was looking for a pitch I knew I could drive in a key moment. I just didn't want to jump on anything too soon. I wanted a pitch I knew I could hit hard."
Thurow held Marengo to two runs on five hits in the first six innings as the Thunder (6-8-1, 3-2) carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Kiley Christopher reached on an error, Christy Lee worked a seven-pitch walk, and Hannah Ritter was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Jenna Turner hit a comebacker to Thurow that was deflected off the pitcher's glove and went to shortstop Piper Benedict, who threw home to cut off Christopher for the first out.
Aubry's two-run double ended a six-game losing streak that nobody on the Indians' roster had experienced before at the high school level.
"It was rough going through that, but in the long run it will help us learn and prepare us for the postseason," said Aubry, who was on the Indians' 2017 state championship team. "We play some tough teams. We played well. We just didn't come out on top."
Marengo sophomore Brooke Behrens allowed two earned runs on six hits, striking out six and walking one to earn her eighth win. Thurow took the loss, giving up four runs in 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
"I think this will bring us a lot closer, and it's going to be a turning point for us," Behrens said. "It will keep us motivated to do better and better."
Marengo right fielder Grace Houghton hit a solo homer in the sixth to cut North's lead to 3-2. In the top of the seventh, she recovered a single at the fence and threw out Mackenzie Salazar trying to stretch it into a double.
Abby Hartmann had two hits, a steal and two runs scored for North. Mykenzie Selof had an RBI groundout, Mackenzie Spung scored a run, and Chloe Vermett had a double. Ritter had two doubles and one RBI for Marengo, and Christopher had a double and a run scored.
"We gave up some good hits," Thunder coach Paul Sandall said. "Ellie threw well. We had them, but they had a couple of big hits. We walked Ritter because she was hitting Ellie. We're starting to put the pieces together."
STAR OF THE GAME
Lauren Aubry, Marengo, sr., C
Aubry ripped a walk-off, two-run double to deep right field with one out in the seventh inning to snap a six-game losing streak for Marengo.
5: Five of Marengo’s previous six losses were by two runs or fewer.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Sophomore Brooke Behrens has started 13 of Marengo’s 22 games and is 8-4 with a 2.91 ERA.
Marengo 4, Woodstock North 3
Woodstock North 020 001 0 – 3 6 1
Marengo 000 011 2 – 4 7 3
WP: Behrens (7IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 6K). LP: Thurow (6.1P, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 6K).
Top hitters–Woodstock North: Hartmann 2-3 (2R, SB), Vermett 1-3 (3B), Selof 1-3 (RBI), Spung 1-3 (SB, R). Marengo: Ritter 2-3 (2B, RBI, R), Houghton 2-3 (HR, RBI, R), Aubry 1-4 (2B, 2RBI), Christopher 1-3 (2B, R).