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Charlotte Chelich spins winning web as Naperville North inches closer to DuPage Valley Conference title. ‘We have to keep going.’ – Chicago Tribune

Naperville North pitcher Charlotte Chelich wasn’t in the greatest mood Monday.

The junior ace felt like she didn’t have her best stuff.

“It was just one of those bad days where you wake up on the wrong side and every little thing is bugging you,” Chelich said. “That’s what it was today.”

Still, the funk didn’t seem to affect Chelich, who threw five innings of no-hit ball and had an RBI single in a 7-4 DuPage Valley Conference victory over visiting Metea Valley.

The win put the Huskies (23-2, 12-2) on the verge of two historic milestones.

A victory over Waubonsie Valley in Tuesday’s DVC finale would assure Naperville North of at least a share of its first conference championship since 1996 as well as tie the program record for wins.

“It’s been really fun but we have to keep on going,” Chelich said. “Everyone is exhausted from playing games every single day, so these last two weeks are going to be the real challenge going into the playoffs.

“That’s also the stressful part. You lose one game and it’s all over.”

The Huskies, though, figure to be tough to beat in the single-elimination playoffs if Chelich (14-1) is on her game.

Metea (9-14, 6-8) only put two balls in play against her, neither of which left the infield. She recorded 12 strikeouts, giving her 192 on the season.

But Chelich also walked four and twice hit opposing pitcher Nevaeh Cruz.

That ran Chelich’s pitch count over 100 and prompted Naperville North coach Jerry Kedziora to pull her with a 4-1 lead after five innings.

“I came out pretty strong, I felt, and then I kind of lost it toward the end,” Chelich said. “My pitches were working, but there was too much movement to the point of where they were getting out of the zone.

“It threw off my game when I hit that girl because it obviously wasn’t meant to be intentional. It got to me around the fourth or fifth inning where I was getting too much in my head.”

Junior right-hander Shayna Woolwine struck out four in the final two innings to earn the save, although not before the Mustangs made things interesting by scoring twice in the seventh.

Morgan State recruit Nia Lewis led off by circling the bases after her grounder to short was thrown away. The Huskies made two errors on the play, three in the inning and five overall.

“That wasn’t good,” Kedziora said. “That wasn’t typical of us. We were a little flat but the girls hit the ball hard.”

Indeed, the Huskies had 13 hits.

Kristina Donaldson set the table by going 4-for-4 out of the leadoff spot, while Rhyan Hampton added three hits and Kendall Kedziora and Laurel Anstine each had two.

Kedziora’s two-run single scored Donaldson and Maddi Larson to cap a three-run sixth inning.

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Jerry Kedziora said Donaldson’s hitting has been heating up with the weather.

“It was tough early in the season,” Donaldson said. “The weather was really rough with the cold.”

But the warmer temperatures, plus the challenge of facing Chelich and Woolwine in practice, makes the games a lot easier.

“We see some speed with Charlotte and a lot of spin with Shayna, so that really helps kind of cover all the different types of pitches that we do face,” Donaldson said. “I feel more prepared.”

Despite her team only getting two hits, Metea coach Michaela Schlattman is seeing progress from the Mustangs, who were shut out in the first two games against Naperville North.

“We had some really good at-bats,” Schlattman said. “They saw pitches really well and that put us in great situations.”

Matt Le Cren is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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