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Softball: Wolves dust off early one-run deficit, drop Oswego

Northwestern recruit Ashley Schultz homers in 5-3 crosstown win

Ashley Schultz casually dusted off home plate during the postgame raking, just another day at the office.

Just another day for the Oswego East bats, too.

Schultz hit her fourth homer as part of a three-hit day, and the Wolves dusted off an early one-run deficit to drop crosstown rival Oswego 5-3 on Monday at Oswego East.

The output Monday was somewhat pedestrian for the Wolves (8-3, 4-2 Southwest Prairie), who have scored a dizzying 82 runs over the last six games.

"Really, our bats have kept us in a lot of games so far this season," said Schultz, a sophomore catcher committed to Northwestern. "We know we're eventually going to score some runs."

And so it was Monday.

Oswego (7-4, 2-3), seeking to avenge last year's regional loss, struck first off Wolves' starter Emily Schultz.

Kayla Moky led off the game with a single and came around to score on Ashley McCance's two-out opposite-field single to left field.

Oswego East, though, came right back with four runs in its half of the first. Sydni Mitchell had the big blow, slapping a bases-loaded single to right field. Three runs eventually came in, the third on a throwing error, for a 4-1 lead.

As potent as his offense has been, Wolves' coach Mark Green realized the significance of early offense against Oswego pitchers Jenna Veber and Annie Scaramuzzi.

"We knew runs would be a premium today because they have two very talented pitchers," Green said. "The girls that are running up to the plate for us, collectively as a group they're swinging the bats well. It's a good problem to have. I wish I could put all 15 in the lineup every day."

Ashley Schultz is certainly swinging it well, hitting .517 on the year.

In the third inning she hit a towering drive over the fence in left-center for a 5-1 lead.

"It felt really good when I hit it," Schultz said. "Changeup, slower pitch, I was waiting for it."

"The last week and a half, two weeks she's really been swinging the bat well," Green said. "She's just relaxed at the plate, not trying to do too much. She has the ability and she's letting it happen."

Moky's fourth-inning double scored Natalie Etheridge, who had singled and Caitlin Eckert tripled in Scaramuzzi in the seventh for Oswego.

Oswego put multiple baserunners on in six of seven innings against Emily Schultz, a Loyola recruit, but had trouble breaking through. The Panthers left 10 runners on base.

"We have to string our hits together," Oswego coach Amanda Stanton said. "We had a lot of hits; they were just right at them."

Moky was 3-for-4, catalyst for the Panthers' throughout.

"She's definitely our go-to girl getting on base," Stanton said. "She can slap, she can bunt and she's good at reading defenses and getting on however she can."

Oswego East's defense was sparkling behind Schultz, who struck out four.

Emily Green made a spectacular diving stop at second base to save a run in the fourth inning, and shortstop Juvia Davis had a leaping liner in the fifth. Later that inning the Wolves threw out a runner at the plate on a perfect relay from Autumn Sullivan in left field to Mitchell at third.

"Our defense I felt was key," coach Green said. "They're a pesky offensive team. We kept everything in front of us and made some plays defensively."

For Oswego, Scaramuzzi struck out eight in six innings of strong relief. She's one of five sophomores on a young Panthers' group with just four seniors that's targeting the program's first winning season in 23 years.

"They set their goals to beat Oswego East and have a winning record and they're determined to reach those goals," Stanton said. "We're going to keep growing because we do have a very young team."

Oswego East notes: Sullivan went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored, Ashley Schultz homered and drove in three and Emly Green was 3-for-5 with three RBIs in a 15-10 win over DeKalb on April 15. Schultz homered and had five RBIs and Mackenna Mittelstaedt also went deep to beat Romeoville 14-3 on April 12. Plainfield North beat the Wolves 12-6 on April 13.

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