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Heflin strikes out 31 in two straight DGN softball shutouts

Trojans top Glenbard West to gain early edge in West Suburban Silver race.

Mark Busch —
Downers Grove North's Carolyn Nojiri takes a cut during a win over Wheaton Warrenville South April 1 at North.
Mark Busch — Downers Grove North's Carolyn Nojiri takes a cut during a win over Wheaton Warrenville South April 1 at North.

GLEN ELLYN — In the first meeting between last year’s West Suburban Silver conference co-champions, Elaine Heflin made a huge statement.

The Downers Grove North senior right-hander dominated Glenbard West to the tune of 18 strikeouts, leading the Trojans to a 5-0 victory Monday in Glen Ellyn.

Heflin, who allowed just three hits, struck out the final eight batters of the game.

“We noticed their swings were kind of behind so we figured we could blast it past them,” said Heflin, who missed her career-high by two strikeouts; she fanned 20 against Prospect her freshman year.

Having split time in the pitching circle with Dale Ryndak in years past, the burden now falls solely on Heflin with Ryndak out for the season with a torn ACL.

“In the offseason, I trained hard,” said Heflin, now 7-1 this season. “It feels normal (to throw seven innings). I could probably go another seven innings.

“We lost a great player like Dale and everyone needs to step up and play their best and that is what we are doing.”

The offense staked the UIC-recruit to a 3-0 lead before she had even thrown a pitch, with Ali Woitovich and Claire Jagielo both contributing RBI singles in the top of the first inning. The fourth run scored on a wild pitch in the third before Woitovich capped off the scoring with another RBI single in the fifth.

“It really helps when we score first and the girls are aggressive at the plate,” Heflin said. “That builds up my confidence, knowing that they have my back.

Heflin was just as dominant Saturday despite battling illness, according to coach Mark Magro. She carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the Trojans’ 2-0 win over previously undefeated Plainfield South.

“We really didn’t know anything about them, but they were good,” Magro said of Plainfield South.

The Trojans (8-3, 1-0 WSS) scored both runs in the fourth inning, both unearned. Maddie Wojciak and Brittany Nagy singled, and a two-out pop fly into short left field was dropped as both came around to score.

“If she caught it we might still be playing,” Magro said.

Brittany Claver had a double for North’s third hit and North took another step toward being the team it wants to become — a consistent, well-rounded team.

“We’re a work in progress, but we’re getting our lineup set,” Magro said. “Each game we’ve seen a different girls come along and do something big for us.”

The game at Glenbard West started a week that also includes WSS games against Hinsdale Central (4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Hinsdale) and York (4:30 p.m. Friday in Downers Grove) and a non-conference doubleheader Saturday against perennial power Glenbard South. North is also scheduled to host a loaded Benet squad at 4:30 p.m. next Tuesday.

“We’ve had a tough schedule all year,” Magro said. “We’ve been playing tough teams and we might lose some games, but playing good teams is only going to make us better.”

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