CHICAGO HEIGHTS | A scheduling snafu left Marian Catholic and Illiana Christian without an umpire until 40 minutes after their scheduled start time Friday, but even that wait wasn't enough to cool off the Spartans' Allison Spence.
Marian's No. 1 pitcher and occasional second baseman went 4-for-4 with a home run and two doubles, scored four times and drove in four as the Times' No. 2 team topped the Vikings 11-1. Spence's two-run, opposite-field line drive off a scoreboard support beam ended things with no outs in the bottom of the sixth.
"I was just looking for a good pitch," Spence said. "I already had some hits, but a better pitch — one I could really get a hold of."
She got one, and got her second homer of the season -- but first off the scoreboard.
"I hit one near there last year," she said. "I didn't see (this one) go out. But I heard the thump."
With her perfect day at the plate, Spence lifted her season average to .524 (11-for-21) and her RBI total to 13 in six games for the Spartans (4-2).
"She's so mature," Marian coach Kerri Evans said of the junior. "She just gets it. Every at-bat, she's analyzed the time before and she knows what she's looking for."
Spence's RBI double in the first would have been enough offense for Friday's pitcher, senior Haley Earl (2-1). Earl allowed only a bloop double over first base by Katie Eriks in the first inning and an infield single on Payton Van Kalker's slow roller to short in the fifth.
Van Kalker, after stealing second and taking third on a grounder, came home on an error on a mishandled tapper in front of the plate. Otherwise, Earl was masterful, striking out five and walking none.
"She threw well," Evans said. "She and (catcher) Gabby (Angellotti) worked really well together, and Gabby called a great game.
"She threw more change-ups than she has — but Meghan (Henson) catches her more than Gabby, so maybe that's more Gabby's style."
Angellotti, a freshman, also added two base hits in three trips after going 4-for-4 in a 14-6 win Thursday over Lemont.
It was a rougher week for another freshman, Illiana hurler Heather Wiltjer. Taking over the pitching chores full-time due to the ineligibility of the Vikings' anticipated No. 1 starter, Wiltjer's 1-3 season mark was compiled in a four-day stretch starting Tuesday.
Wiltjer kept her team in it through four innings, trailing just 3-0 despite five Marian hits and three Illiana errors. She came undone in the fifth, allowing six hits and throwing three wild pitches as Marian scored six times.
"She's tired," Illiana coach Allie Cable said. "She's had a long week. She carried us all week."
The Vikings slipped to 1-5 on the season. Cable, a first-year coach and a 2008 Illiana graduate, remained optimistic.
Despite four errors, she said, "Defense is not a problem for us. The biggest thing right now is producing at the plate."
"I told them they've got to keep their heads up," she added. "We didn't come through with the bats when we needed to come through."