LISLE — Benet softball head coach Jerry Schilf knew his team would be able to hit the ball once the season finally started, but even this is a little ridiculous.
Through their first six games, the Redwings have scored 81 runs, including 79 in five shortened-inning mercy-rule wins.
“Other than Naperville Central, the least amount of runs we’ve scored in a game is 14,” Schilf said after his team’s 15-5, six-inning win over Plainfield East Monday.
For as well as Benet (5-1 overall after Monday’s game) has hit the ball, Schilf has been just as impressed with his team’s defense.
“We’ve been playing really well defensively,” the coach said, noting his team has turned nine double plays so far this season. “We’re turning a lot of unconventional double plays; our right fielder makes a diving catch and throws to first to get the runner, or our shortstop does the same, things like that.”
The only question mark so far is pitching. No. 1 starter and junior Molly Moran has been out for a month with a dislocated knee. She is still hobbled by the injury and is slowly working her way back to full strength. Sophomore Emily York and freshman Megan Stoppleman have picked up the slack, though Schilf is concerned about avoiding arm fatigue for York and giving Stoppleman too heavy a workload.
“We just have to take it one day at a time,” Schilf said. “We knew when Molly went down that the keys for us were going to be offense and defense. As long as we play defense and don’t walk anybody, we have a chance to score and be in the mix to win some games.
“The nice thing is, last year our No. 7 and No. 8 spots were like a black hole. No matter who we put there, they struggled to hit. Right now, 7-8-9 are all contributing. We’re getting contributions from everybody.”
The Redwings are scheduled to open East Suburban Catholic Conference play Saturday with a doubleheader at Joliet Catholic. ESCC heavyweights Marist, Providence and Marian Catholic are waiting down the line in a condensed schedule that will see Benet play six games a week almost every week from here on out. All that softball against quality competition should get the team ready for the postseason.
“As tough as the teams in our area and the teams in our sectional are, our conference is tougher,” Schilf said. “It’ll toughen us up for the playoffs.”