Not much went right for Rosary early in its season as the Royals lost six of their first seven games.
But everything seemed to go right on Monday as Rosary defeated crosstown rival Aurora Central Catholic 9-1.
Pitcher Cara Smoczynski struck out a career-high 15 batters over seven shutout innings and the Royals offense combined for 15 hits, five of them for extra bases.
Smoczynski was dominant from the get-go, striking out eight of the first nine Charger batters. The right-handed junior gave up just four hits and one run in seven innings of work.
“I was feeling great. The beginning of that game was awesome, I came in with confidence,” said Smoczynski. “I was preparing the whole weekend, I was getting myself excited. I came out and performed.”
Rosary (2-6, 1-1) coach John Kazmierczak said it was one of the best-pitched games he’s seen from a Royals pitcher in years.
“That was the best performance by a Rosary pitcher in about three years and the best she’s pitched in two years on the team,” said Kazmierczak. “That’s what she’s capable of, she was dominant.”
Rosary took an early 1-0 lead after Maddie Merritt scored on Maddie Hemmerich’s sacrifice fly in the first inning.
The Royals extended their lead to 6-0 with a five-run third inning that featured RBI triples by Kates Groom and Samantha Phelps, and RBI singles from Hemmerich and Smoczynski.
Lauren Murray went 3-for-4, including a double and a triple, and drove in the Royals’ final three runs. The sophomore’s seventh inning double brought home Lexi Lovetere to give the Royals a 9-1 lead.
Kazmierczak said his team was due for a strong offensive showing.
“We’ve been hitting the ball like this all season, but we’ve been hitting it right at people,” said Kazmierczak. “They haven’t been falling, but today they fell.”
Mary Wileman scored the Chargers’ only run in the sixth inning on a double by Allie Lundquist.
Aurora Central (5-3, 0-1) coach Jim Hallahan said the Royals’ bats were just too much.
“They’re a well-hitting team,” said Hallahan. “Nobody has hit her [Chargers pitcher Sarah Ryan] around like that in the last three years I’ve coached her. So, kudos to them, they swung the bat well.”
I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.