Girls Softball: Keegan Hayes Does It All As Naperville Central Knocks Off No. 1 Glenbard North

Behind The Fence: Glenbard North’s Lilly Fecho winds up on Wednesday.

A team needs a special performance if it is going to beat the No. 1 ranked team in the state.

That’s exactly what Naperville Central got from pitcher Keegan Hayes on Wednesday as the visiting Redhawks defeated No. 1 Glenbard North 2-1 in a DuPage Valley Conference duel.

The right-handed sophomore gave up one run and four hits in seven innings of work and provided all of the Redhawks offense on a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Naperville Central improved to 21-5, 10-1.

Hayes’ home run, the first of her career, came against Panthers ace Lilly Fecho. Hayes had struck out in her four previous at bats against the Purdue-bound Fecho this season and was in an 0-2 hole before launching the home run over the left-center field fence.

“I was shocked, it didn’t feel like a home run,” said Hayes. “I hadn’t hit so well off of Lilly, so I was really surprised. It didn’t feel like one.”

Fecho had a chance to return the favor with the Panthers trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, Fecho hit a rocket to Redhawks shortstop Kelsey Gonzalez.

Gonzalez made a great stop and tossed the ball over to second baseman Nicole Kappelman for the force out to end the game.

Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum praised Gonzalez’s defense after the game.

“I am glad she is on my team. She did what she had to do,” said Nussbaum. “I’m glad she’s on my team and I think I’ve said that about 100 times this year.”

Glenbard North (25-2, 9-2) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Kelsey Muller. However, after the first inning the Panthers managed just two more hits.

Fecho had another strong outing, striking out nine batters while giving up seven hits and two runs over seven innings.

After starting the season 20-0, Glenbard North has lost two games in the last ten days. Panthers coach Josh Sanew said his team needs to get things going offensively again.

“We’re sort of heading the wrong way as we’re getting towards the state playoffs,” said Sanew. “I feel like our bats have gone a little bit down here the last five games. We’re just not coming up with that big hit, we’re leaving a ton of people on base. We’ve got six games to turn this thing around and headed in the right direction.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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