RICHMOND – After letting a one-run lead in the seventh inning slip away over the weekend, Woodstock North entered Tuesday's Kishwaukee River Conference game against Richmond-Burton with extra motivation.
"You get angry, and you just want to fight back," junior center fielder Abby Hartmann said. "What they did to us, it just brought a fire into all of us. We want to finish games. Everyone is battling for that top spot."
The Thunder got some revenge in their second game against the Rockets in four days, building an 11-3 lead against the KRC leaders en route to a 15-8 win.
The win kept North's KRC title chances alive, but it will need help to get it done. R-B (15-3-1, 9-2 KRC) still can win the conference championship outright with a win Thursday against Johnsburg in its last conference game. R-B already is guaranteed a share of the title.
North (13-12-1, 7-3), meanwhile, needs R-B to lose against Johnsburg and also win its last two KRC games against Marengo and Burlington Central. Marengo, which beat Burlington on Tuesday, also is alive with three KRC losses and one game left.
The Thunder scored 11 straight runs after a three-run home run by Rockets junior shortstop Peyton Bannon in the bottom of the first inning. North scored six runs in the second, including a two-run single by Mackenzie Salazar and two-run double by leadoff hitter Piper Benedict.
North added three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth for an 11-3 lead. No. 9 hitter Mykenzie Selof had a two-run double in the fourth, and senior pitcher Ellie Thurow ripped a two-run home run in the fifth.
"I told the girls when we came in, we can't let up," Thunder coach Paul Sandall said. "This is where the toughness comes in. You've got to answer back, and they did. It was awesome. After Saturday's [loss], the girls were on their game today."
R-B battled back with five runs in the fifth, cutting North's lead to 11-8. Bannon had a hit for her fourth RBI, and Carys De Lucia provided a three-run home run to center field with two outs.
In the top of the sixth, the Thunder put the first three on and pushed across three unearned runs against Rockets relief pitcher Jesse Klicker. Hayley Matteson provided an RBI hit, and Hartmann worked a bases-loaded walk.
Salazar finished 4 for 4 with her first home run of the season in the seventh. She had three RBIs and three runs scored.
"We just had to keep that fire burning that we started off with," Salazar said. "It feels great."
The Rockets committed six errors in the loss, leading to four unearned runs.
"Errors and mistakes are going to happen," Klopf said. "But being able to bounce back from them was our biggest problem today. They were just down on themselves and took themselves out of the game mentally."
Bella Spittler was 4 for 4 with two steals and three runs scored for R-B. Benedict went 3 for 5, and Chloe Vermett and Mackenzie Spung had two hits and two runs scored apiece for North.
STAR OF THE GAME
Mackenzie Salazar, Woodstock North, so., OF
Salazar was 4 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored. She hit her first home run of the season in the seventh.
18: Hits for Woodstock North
AND ANOTHER THING …
Richmond-Burton can clinch the Kishwaukee River Conference championship outright with a win Thursday against Johnsburg.
Woodstock North 15, Richmond-Burton 8
Woodstock North 060 323 1 – 15 18 2
Richmond-Burton 300 050 0 – 8 10 6
WP: Thurow (7IP, 10H, 8R, 4ER, 2BB, 9K). LP: Jones (3.1IP, 8H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 1K).
Top hitters–Woodstock North: Salazar 4-4 (HR, 3R, 3RBI), Benedict 3-5 (2B, 2R, 2RBI), Hartmann 3-4 (2RBI, R), Matteson 1-5 (2RBI), Thurow 1-6 (HR, 2R, 2RBI), Vermett 2-6 (SB, 2R), Spung 2-5 (2R), Bremer 1-5 (2R), Selof 1-4 (2B, 2RBI, R). Richmond-Burton: Bannon 2-4 (HR, 4RBI, 2R), Spittler 4-4 (2SB, 3R), De Lucia 2-4 (HR, 3RBI, R).