WHEATFIELD | About two-and-a-half weeks earlier at the Crown Point Invitational, Andrean coach Brooke Baker-Runyon lamented her team’s struggles against Northwest Crossroads Conference rival Kankakee Valley.
“I don’t know why we can’t hit K.V.’s pitching,” she said then.
The 59ers had lost twice to the Kougars, once in conference play and once in the C.P. tourney, scoring a combined two runs.
They figured out the answer to Runyon’s question Tuesday with an explosion of runs in a 14-6 victory at Kankakee Valley to stay in the NCC race.
Times No. 9 Andrean offense got rolling in the second inning with a two-run home run by Haley Huesken, her second of the season, despite a stiff wind blowing in from the east. She added two more RBIs in the third inning on a single that was actually off the wall, a couple feet from being another homer.
“I’m usually a more consistent singles hitter, but it feels good to hit a home run once in a while,” said Huesken, whose other homer came in the C.P. tourney. “Anything that gets my teammates home is fine with me.”
Huesken started a trend for Andrean (10-5, 6-3), as eight of the nine spots in the batting order and nine total players had hits. All nine spots in the order reached base.
“Our whole batting order can hit really well and it’s contagious,” Huesken added.
It could have been the practice Monday that focused almost exclusively on offense.
“We got a lot of reps in hitting (Monday) thinking it would pay off,” Runyon said. “Today was a different story against K.V.”
Andrean pitcher Brenna Boyle had a no-hitter and a shutout with two outs in the sixth before the No. 7 Kougars' bats came alive. After back-to-back walks, Bre Toppen and Lauren Stokes had RBI at-bats for K.V. (10-8, 5-5). Then in the seventh, three singles loaded the bases and freshman Mackenzie Dunlap, who is verbally committed to Northwestern, cleared them with her second grand slam of the season and fifth total home run.
“Finally our bats started doing something,” said K.V. coach Brian Flynn, who saw his team lose 10-0 Munster on Monday. “I hope that’s a confidence builder because the last two games we struggled. There’s better days ahead.”
Boyle finished with 11 strikeouts. She was also 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.