ROCK FALLS – Jordan Giddings' biceps issue creeped up again on Tuesday.
The supersized Rock Falls senior was sailing along with a no-hitter through three innings. Then came the pain ... again.
Giddings had to leave the pitching circle after four innings, but played a large role in the Rockets' 10-5 Big Northern West win over Mendota at the Rock Falls sports complex.
Giddings (4-1) got the win, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in her four innings. She struck out four. She was also 2-for-4 at the plate with a two-run homer.
Giddings' arm gave her fits all last season.
"I thought it was healed," she said. "It will pinch every once in a while, but then it goes away. Today, it was staying."
Numerous doctor visits revealed nothing wrong with the arm, but a trip to the physical therapist finally resulted in a diagnosis.
"He said my shoulder blade was positioned wrong, so I'm not able to use that muscle, and I use my biceps twice as much," Giddings said. "That's why it swells and hurts."
Giddings' home run came in Rock Falls' five-run fourth after Mendota (8-9, 4-4) had pulled even with a three-run top of the inning.
Paige Reynolds (2-for-4), Addesyn Nailor and Jessica Stickel started the Rockets' fourth with three straight singles. Reynolds scored on a wild pitch and Nailor on Stickel's infield hit.
With two outs, Linsey Brown (3-for-4) stroked an RBI single. Giddings followed with an atypical opposite-field home run.
"My dad asked me if I was sick, because I hit it to right field," she said. "That doesn't happen very often. That was probably only my first or second home run to right field."
Sophomore standout Michaela Ward stepped in nicely for Giddings in the circle. Ward hurled three innings of one-hit relief for the save.
"I really wasn't expecting to pitch," Ward said. "Jo was doing a good job, but then I had to come in and do my job."
Ward also did the job at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. She recently moved into the No. 4 spot in the lineup.
"At first, I put a lot of pressure myself because I thought I had to perform," Ward said. "Now, I'm just trying to relax. The coaches told me not to think too much and just swing with confidence."
Rock Falls (16-3, 5-1) took a quick 2-0 lead with two runs in the first inning. Brown singled and scored on an error, while Giddings doubled and scored on a Ward groundout.
The Rockets made it 3-0 in the third, when Morgan Mammosser doubled and scored when Ward doubled off the fence in left-center field.
Mendota tied it with a three-run fourth before Rock Falls' five-run bottom half. The Trojans pulled within 8-5 on Marry Wackerlin's two-run homer in the sixth.
The Rockets tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth. Ward looped an RBI single and Julie Dodd (2-for-4) had an RBI single.
Rock Falls coach Kris Nunez was thrilled with Monday's 10-0 five-inning rout of a Stillman Valley team that was 13-1. She was not as pleased with Tuesday's win.
"It's not like we played poorly, but we made some mistakes we don't usually make," she said. "[Monday] we were pumped from the get-go. We didn't see that today."
Star of the game: Michaela Ward, Rock Falls, 3-for-4, 3 RBIs, 3-inning save
Key performers: Jordan Giddings, Rock Falls, 2-for-4, 2 RBIs, HR, win; Marry Wackerlin, Mendota, 2-for-2, 4 RBIs, HR
Up next: Rockford Lutheran at Rock Falls (DH), 4:30 p.m. today