CRYSTAL LAKE – Prairie Ridge pitcher Kirsten Stevens, as usual, was throwing hard.
Woodstock North’s Becca Einsphar was not throwing as hard, but succeeded in keeping the Thunder close for a while.
Eventually, the Wolves got key hits from unlikely sources in their lineup – No. 8 hitter Emily Doomis and pinch-hitter Marissa Richter – who both hit fifth-inning home runs to lift Prairie Ridge past North, 4-1, in their Fox Valley Conference crossover softball game Monday.
Doomis hit a two-run shot, then Richter had a solo blast two batters later.
For Doomis, a junior, it was the second homer of her career and the first of the season.
“I felt it right off the bat,’’ Doomis said.
Leading 3-1 after this blast, Richter stepped up and fouled a few pitches off before depositing a pitch over the left-field fence.
“I told myself not to get too anxious,’’ Richter said. “And when I hit I knew it was over.”
Those homers gave the Wolves some breathing room as they nursed a 1-0 lead to the fifth. While Einsphar kept the Wolves off-balance, Stevens was in control from the very start, striking out 14 and walking one.
“She’s a terrific pitcher,’’ Woodstock North coach Kristen Holzbauer said.
“What an awesome player.”
North shortstop Bria Romine had a pair of doubles, one that drove in the only run for the Thunder (2-2) in the sixth inning.
“We both played on the Tidal Waves,’’ said Romine, who also doubled in the first. “I was waiting for the pitches down the middle.”
Claire Bowman opened the home half of the first with a single. She scored on the first of two doubles from left fielder Kate Didier. After the first, Stevens allowed only a pair of bunt singles to Kristen Brenner.
“She really changed speeds well,’’ Wolves coach Mike Buck said. “And she kept it down.”
Didier’s second double opened the Wolves’ fourth, but she was cut down trying for a triple. Stevens added a hard single to right later in the inning.
After the homer inning, the Thunder answered with a run.
Holzbauer felt good about the way her team played against the Wolves.
“We weren’t scared,’’ she said. “We played hard. We went down swinging.”
Note: Bria Romine was incorrectly listed as a second baseman in the original version of this story.