PALOS HEIGHTS | Allison Spence didn't mind doing it all Saturday for Times No. 3 Marian Catholic, throwing a shutout and driving in both runs in a 2-0 win over Stagg.
But she'd rather not make it a habit.
"I hope it's not me the whole season," she said. "And I know it won't be. Hitting actually is our strength — it just didn't seem like it today."
Neither did it seem like defense should be the Spartans' concern, though it had been while they split their first two games of the season.
"The first two games, we had 10 hits each game but the defense was shaky," coach Kerri Evans said. "Today the defense was better, but our strong suit is definitely offense."
Marian (2-1) started fast, Susie Baranski dropping the first pitch of the game perfectly for a bunt single, then stealing second base on the next pitch. After Emily Montalvo sacrificed her to third, Baranski scored when Spence, the No. 3 hitter, grounded sharply to second on the first pitch she saw.
Spence rapped another first pitch into center in the third inning, her two-out single driving in Madison Kapers after the shortstop led off the frame with a double to left and stole third.
"I usually look for a first pitch I can hit," Spence said. "But it's not like I always swing on the first pitch."
Between RBIs, Spence wriggled out of her only jam of the day. She gave up a sharp single to center leading off the second, and after a strikeout had runners on the corners when Alexis Minet lunged at a change-up and blooped it into right.
Spence fanned the next two Chargers and didn't allow another hit the rest of the way. She ended up striking out eight for the game while walking two. She allowed two earned runs in her first start of the season, a 7-6 loss to Andrew in which she struck out seven and had only one of Andrew's five hits leave the infield.
"We're pretty young, and she definitely takes charge," Evans said of Spence. "She's a huge leader, a team captain. She has a really good softball mind. At practice, it's almost like having another coach out there.
"And she's very even-keel. She's quietly intense, and gets quietly excited."
There was one senior in Marian's lineup against Stagg (0-2). Spence was one of two juniors. Four sophomores and two freshmen rounded out the batting order.
"I've been on the varsity for three years, looking up to other captains," Spence said. "The thing is to not be too bossy, but to be a good role model. I want to be as good as I can be, but just be a part of the team — not above or below anyone else."