By Greg gulas
The Brookfield Warriors and Hubbard Eagles are long-time “Route 7” rivals.
Different conference affiliations, however, have created scheduling problems which over the years have prevented the two teams from meeting more often.
Warriors coach Ken Forsythe, a 1999 Brookfield graduate, won’t let his team forget the rivalry’s significance when both teams finally do get together.
His players took to heart his week-long lecture.
Destiny May had three hits and scored three times while Lauren Hawley threw five innings in relief as Brookfield posted a 6-4, come-from-behind victory over the Eagles on Friday at Community Park.
“I told the girls this week that while we don’t play each other as much as we would like, to us this is still a rivalry game and that was our approach all week,” Forsythe said. “We were able to jump ahead early, but give our team credit because after they lost the lead in the fifth inning they didn’t quit. They just kept fighting back.
“This was by far Destiny’s best game of the year as she has been suffering from a torn ACL, an injury that will require surgery at the end of the season.
“Lauren has a nice change-up that keeps opponents off-balance and despite one bad inning, was able to work through it all before settling down to pick up the victory.”
Hubbard (7-8) loaded the bases with its first three hitters of the game, but failed to cash in on the opportunity.
The Eagles stranded just three other runners the rest of the way.
May opened the game with a single for Brookfield (7-3) in the bottom of the inning, later scoring to give the Warriors the early run advantage.
The score remained that way until the third frame when May doubled and Ashleigh Vivo was hit by a pitch. The two found their way home as the Warriors forged a 3-0 advantage.
“I came into the game in a bit of a slump, striking out way too much, but felt good at the plate the entire game,” May said. “I wasn’t opening up my hips enough and once I corrected that, was able to make good contact with the ball. To be able to come back after losing the lead was big for us today.”
A single by Maddie Nicoloff followed by Taylor Barton’s double then cut the Brookfield lead to 3-2, and when Alivia Sandberg added a two-run homer over the left-center field fence, Hubbard took its first lead at 4-3.
Hawley, who relieved starter Ashley Custer in the third inning, said she labored in the fifth inning and continued to struggle by throwing the ball right over the plate.
“Everyone hits the ball when it’s thrown right over the plate and I wasn’t fooling anyone with what I was throwing that inning,” Hawley said. “Our catcher, Haley Hogue, kept telling me just to throw the ball outside. When I started hitting the corners, that’s when I settled down.”
The Eagles’ lead was short-lived, however, as Brookfield answered with three runs in its half of the fifth frame; two of which were aided by Hubbard errors for a 6-4 final margin.
“We’re a young team that made a couple mental mistakes today. We have only one senior on defense with the rest of our lineup consisting of freshman and sophomores,” Eagles coach Ken Miller said. “Melyssa [Conger] really did an excellent job on the hill for us, mixing up her pitches while working up-and-down, in-and-out and painting the corners.”
Hawley, who improved to 3-0, had five strikeouts and walked just one Hubbard batter while Conger (6-4) threw a complete game, allowing just four hits as she also struck out five batters.