MANCHESTER — Kaley Adzick knows people will stare.
The Lafayette High senior pitcher is quite aware some students will laugh behind her back.
She couldn't care less.
Adzick will parade down the halls of her school on Tuesday proudly lugging around a steering wheel for all to see.
It serves as a well-earned badge of honor.
Adzick turned in an impressive two-way performance Monday afternoon to guide the Lancers to a 4-3 softball win over Parkway South in a hard-fought Suburban Conference Green Pool contest at South.
Lafayette (10-7) has won four of five and appears to be rounding into form after a 2-3 start to the campaign.
Adzick recorded a complete-game eight-hit performance in improving to 4-3. She also reached base three times and recorded two of the biggest blows of the game — run-scoring doubles in the first and third innings.
Adzick's performance earned her the right to carry the miniature ship wheel around school the next day. The honor is voted upon by the Lafayette players and given to the person who "did the best job of steering the ship," according to coach Ally Gardner.
"You walk the halls and hold the wheel and it shows how great you did that day and how much of a team player you were," Adzick said.
The honor continues to draw attention throughout the campus.
The relatively shy Adzick has hauled the wheel before. One time, she said a teacher in one of her classes recognized the honor and announced it to the whole class.
"It was embarrassing," Adzick said.
Most of the students don't understanding the meaning of the wheel.
"They just think we're weird," junior catcher Lillian Ware said. "It's really only the softball team that gets it. But it's special to us."
Adzick was certainly special Monday.
In the circle, she wriggled out of several jams, including one in the final inning. She got South catcher Lauren Bacon to ground out to end the game with the trying run on second base.
"She finished strong and she just kept working out there," Gardner said. "That's a perfect example of what we mean by steering the ship."
South (10-4) put its leadoff hitter on three times, including the last two frames. But the Patriots didn't do any serious damage with the exception of a two-run homer by Abby Burkhalter in the second inning that gave them a 2-1 lead.
Adzick helped grab the lead back at 3-2 with her second RBI double of the game.
Freshman Josephine Alspaw pumped the lead to 4-2 with run-scoring hit in the fourth.
Adzick did the rest. She finished with two strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
"When runners got on, she shut them off," said Ware, who called the pitches. "She adjusted when she needed to."
Ware reached base in all four of her trips to the plate. Addyson Jones and Gina Betancourt-Diaz also came up with big hits.
The Patriots struggled at the outset of the contest, committing a key baserunning error and failing to get a bunt down.
But they battled back and made the contest close down the stretch.
"We've got to rise to a situation where all 13 players are pulling on the same rope," South coach Dave McFarland said. "Sometimes people try to pull a little harder and that's when mistakes happen."