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A series (opener) of problems : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
A series (opener) of problems
Plainfield East stakes 5-0 lead in SPC opener for lopsided win

by Kristin Sharp


From Plainfield East's first at bat to its final out, the Bengals' softball team created a series of problems for the Oswego East defense.

Plainfield East started Tuesday's Southwest Prairie Conference season opener with a three-run home run in the top of the first inning and turned an early 5-0 lead into a 12-0 shutout win over Oswego East.

"It was Alex (Wagner's) first game back and we've got to get her back in full game form. We hit right to people instead of hitting into the gaps. We made defensive errors and they capitalized big time," Oswego East head coach Laura Nussle said. "They hit a home run and go up by five, and that's hard to come back from at the varsity level."

Wagner, a senior veteran on the mound for the Wolves, was making her season debut after recovering from a hip injury that required surgery this past fall. Plainfield East centerfielder Jessica Rio took Wagner's first pitch into the outfield for a leadoff double and six hitters later, first baseman Mickey Sinnott hit the three-run homer to put the Bengals ahead 5-0.

Plainfield East added four more runs in the second inning, scoring on a double steal attempt to take a 9-0 lead over the Wolves.

Oswego East (3-3, 0-1 SPC) scattered hits throughout the afternoon, with freshman designated player Shannon Gaul hitting a two-out double in the second and junior first baseman Rachel Vander Wagen knocking out a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the fourth, but both were left stranded.

Oswego East freshman Mackenna Mittelstaedt relieved Wagner on the mound to start the fifth inning and she walked one and struck out one, but held the Bengals scoreless over two innings.

Plainfield East pitcher Bianca Vozenilek struck out her first two batters in the bottom of the fifth, but junior Emily Thorson singled to center field before an infield pop out.

Mittelstaedt struck out one more batter in the top of the sixth before senior Jordyn Klingbeil's running catch in center field ended the inning. Vozenilek only faced three batters in the bottom half of the frame.

Plainfield East ended the game the same way it started - swinging for the fence. Sinnott led off with a double and scored on an RBI single down the first base line. Her teammate went the opposite direction with an RBI single that stayed just fair down the third base line for an 11-0 lead.

With one out, Vozenilek drove in the final run with her hard hit to senior shortstop Jessie Ippolito, who ended the inning by starting a double play with a throw to Vander Wagen, who threw to senior Julia Johnson at third.

Vozenilek made two of the final three outs in the bottom of the seventh, fielding a ground ball to the mound before striking out a pinch hitter and inducing a ground ball hit to shortstop to end the game.

"We held them after the third inning and they were able to score a couple more on us because of some decision-making out there in the seventh, but they stuck with it and kept their heads up and stayed positive," Nussle said.

Oswego East will host Plainfield Central today, Thursday, at 4:15 p.m. before opening next week's schedule with a trip to Naperville Central on Monday.

Notes: Oswego East split a Saturday doubleheader with West Aurora, claiming Game 1 by a 5-4 margin before dropping the second game, 10-0.

In the opening game, Gaul hit 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs while Vander Wagen had an RBI hit and scored one run. In the second game, West Aurora's Hannah Beatus struck out 10 batters in a complete game effort and scattered four hits.

On April 2, Oswego East defeated Elgin, 9-5. senior Tiffani Palmatier hit 4-for-4 with a double, three runs and an RBI while senior Gretchen Gaertner went 2-for-3 with a triple, one walk and two RBIs.

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