Hampshire and Hoffman Estates took a path Thursday that Elgin's softball team hopes to imitate next week, or whenever real outdoor softball can be played in the area.
Behind the pitching of Haley Widmayer, Hampshire continued recovering from indoor losses to start the year with a 15-4, five-inning victory over the Maroons at The Dome at the Ballpark in Rosemont. That came right after short-handed Elgin lost its season-opener 11-0 in six innings to a Hoffman Estates team that also had lost its first game indoors earlier in the week.
"We talked all week about coming out and getting some experience against some live pitching, which we hadn't had," new Elgin coach Nick Bumbales said. "Hoffman Estates and Hampshire had games earlier in the week so they did get to see some live pitching.
"We've got things to work on. We knew that. The girls made good adjustments as the game went on. There were way too many errors, so we'll have to work on that."
Elgin played without three seniors, including star pitcher Jennah Perryman and all-conference catcher Kelly Bremer, because they were on a spring break trip.
Hampshire (2-2), which lost its season-opening doubleheader to Wauconda before bouncing back to beat St. Edward 11-3, took advantage of six Elgin errors and pounded out 15 hits to back a strong pitching effort from Haley Widmayer (1-1).
Widmayer struck out 12 and allowed three hits, including a run-scoring triple by Anna Eckholm in the second and RBI single by Sabrina Stockman in the first.
"Haley practices seven or eight different pitches," Hampshire coach Stacey Stepek said "It's a matter of us getting on the same page as to what four are going to work for us that day.
"With pitchers it's different every single time. we got on the same page, got it working and shut them down from there."
A six-run fifth against Stockman, on in relief of losing pitcher Jessica Rago, resulted in the 10-run rule. Hampshire went ahead right away with three in the first.
The Whip-Purs had hits and two RBI by Ashley Van Acker, three hits from Ellie Lap, an RBI triple and single by Sara Finn and two hits and two RBIs from Peyton Dechant.
Hoffman Estates got seven in the first against Jessica Rago in the first game and the Maroons had only two hits, including a triple by Eckholm off winning sophomore pitcher Tracy Osimowicz.
"We lost our opener here 10-5 to Lake Zurich and had one day to kind of work some things out defensively and we did a good job today of communicating better while offensively took advantage of some of their mistakes," Hoffman Estates coach Lindsey Hamma said. "When we got up seven runs in the first, there was kind of no looking back.
"I would just like to see more run production moving forward."
Hoffman Estates had a three-run double in the first from Samantha Acosta to highlight a nine-hit attack. The Hawks took advantage of six Elgin errors in the first game.
"On the double, I was just trying to choke up on it because I had two strikes," said Acosta, who went 2-for-4 to celebrate her 18th birthday. "We came out in the first inning and got the clutch hits and threatened them every inning, basically."