Narup leads Geneseo to upset of No. 3 Ottawa

The Lady Leafs’ softball team earned a Northern Illinois Big 12 West Conference win over Rochelle and defeated state-ranked Ottawa.

Rochelle at Geneseo

Geneseo crushed the ball for a commanding 15-0 victory over the Lady Hubs at the JF Edwards Complex on April 23.

The Leafs’ Eden McAvoy supplied the power at the plate finishing 3-for-3 with two home runs and five RBI.

Mary Thomas hit a two-run home run, and Bailey Mitchell finished with three hits and two RBI.

Ava Bieneman added a pair of hits, stole three bases, scored three runs and tallied an RBI.

Cora Varland had a pair of hits including a two-run double.

Bailey Mitchell pitched a shutout to earn the win in the circle, pitching four innings allowing four hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Ottawa at Geneseo

In a situational game, the emphasis is always about players who rise to the occasion in the biggest moments.

The Lady Leafs have been at their best in clutch situations this season by doing one thing — being themselves.

Timely hitting and an impressive performance from Anna Narup earned Geneseo a 4-1 victory over No. 3 ranked Ottawa at the JF Edwards Complex on April 25.

Narup showed poise outdueling Kentucky recruit, Sloan Gayan in the circle.

A sophomore, Narup pitched a complete-game allowing one run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

After Delaney Ostrowski was injured during the Washington Invite, Narup has pitched three games with a 0.65 ERA with 21 strikeouts in the span of a week.

However, Narup’s ascendence didn’t happen overnight.

After a slow start to the JV season, Narup overcame her struggles by not being so hard on herself.

“My confidence at the beginning of the year was really low,” Narup said. “I kept telling myself I needed to be better. I realized I had a good defense behind me. I realized I had been working hard. I had been growing this year and that made it easier to perform my best.”

An All-State first team player last season, living up to expectations was something

Bieneman had to deal with this season too.

Bieneman has turned things around this past month raising her batting average around 100 points.

“Early in the year, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I learned I really didn’t need to do that,” Bieneman said. “You have to play your game and not think about anything else. Just be you.”

After Ottawa scored a run in the first inning, Bieneman was tasked with setting the tone against Gayan, and Bieneman came through with a leadoff single.

Dawsyn Hartman was hit by a pitch, and Bailey Mitchell stroked a two-run single to put Geneseo in front, 2-1.

Geneseo expanded its lead in the fourth inning scoring two more runs.

Mary Thomas doubled to leadoff the fourth, and Kenadie Buysse doubled to drive in a run.

In the next at-bat, Cora Varland singled to score Buysse to keep Geneseo rolling.

“We have wins over No. 3 Ottawa, No. 1 Pontiac and No. 5 Kaneland,” Geneseo Coach Pat Mitchell said. “We lost to Sterling, but I like where we are at in the rankings. We are down there where we are just getting votes, but it’s one reason why we are so optimistic about this group.”

With an impressive resume, Geneseo moved up to No. 20 in the Illinois Coaches Association poll.

With some big wins against elite teams, and Ostrowski nearing a return, the Lady Leafs want to make the win over Ottawa a stepping stone to something even greater.

“Now we know we can do it,” Narup said. “With this win, we want to continue to have even bigger wins than this one.”