ROCHELLE — Strong pitching and potent offense typically lead to wins during high school softball games. The Rochelle varsity softball team had its full arsenal on display when the Lady Hubs hosted a nonconference game against Rockford Guilford on Wednesday.
Sophomore Bella Lodico went the distance on the pitcher’s mound, tossing five innings and striking out 11 batters while surrendering only two hits. The Rochelle offense totaled crooked numbers in the first and third innings, and the Lady Hubs cruised over Rockford Guilford by a final score of 12-1 to start a two-game winning streak after beginning the season 0-7 overall. Rochelle improved to 2-7 overall.
“We knew we could win if our defense played well and we didn’t have much to worry about today,” Lodico said. “My fastball was working well and I didn’t need to use my changeup much… I knew we’d be able to make the plays if I kept the ball over the plate. We hit the ball really well and that cheered a lot of us up.”
Despite conceding a 1-0 lead to start the game, Rochelle scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning to go ahead 4-1. The Lady Hubs began with three straight singles from junior Hannah Luxton and seniors Mandi Lamb and Becca Bunger, who tied the game 1-1.
Senior Macy Luxton added a fourth consecutive single, and Rochelle’s fifth straight hit of the inning was an RBI double by senior Emilee Dueringer to make it 2-1. Lodico bounced an RBI groundout to second, and junior Abby Reish delivered a two-out RBI single.
“I’m going 110 percent on offense,” Hannah Luxton said. “I was really impressed with how we played at the plate because we were facing a slower pitcher and slow pitchers usually mess with us. But we remembered our fundamentals and we nailed the ball. I was proud of everybody.”
Lamb’s RBI single to score Luxton in the second inning gave Rochelle the 5-1 advantage. After Lodico retired the side in order, the Lady Hubs exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third inning to take an 11-1 lead. Lodico reached on an error, and a double by Reish led to freshman Jordin Dickey’s RBI groundout.
Junior Maggie Williams followed with an RBI single, and after Luxton bunted for a single and Lamb drew a one-out walk, Bunger hit a sacrifice fly to center for an RBI. Leading 8-1, Macy Luxton stepped into the batter’s box and delivered a towering blast over the Rochelle scoreboard, a three-run homer that essentially iced the victory for the Lady Hubs.
Lodico struck out the side in the fourth, and Hannah Luxton added an RBI double to center that scored Reish in the bottom of the inning. Rockford Guilford stranded two runners on base in the fifth inning, as Lodico struck out three more Vikings to end the game.