If hitting actually were contagious, Burlington Central's baseball players would be under quaratine by now.
The Rockets entered Wednesday's nonconference game in Carpentersville averaging nearly 11 runs a game, and 5 home runs in the first two innings against Dundee-Crown did nothing to slow their roll. Central led 13-0 after two innings and trotted to a 16-6 victory in five innings.
"We like to swing the bats, obviously," said leadoff man Sam Klein, who hit a 2-run home run over the 375-foot marker in center field in the second inning. "Our approach is to zone in on strikes, drive the ball to the gaps and keep innings alive."
The win was the 20th straight for streaking Burlington Central (25-1).
"Coming into the season you don't expect that to happen," Rockets coach Kyle Nelson said of the streak. "You can get an odd bounce or a pitcher could shut you down. But to (the players') credit, they come to play every day. I think what we work hardest on is a good approach at the plate."
The Rockets took advantage of winds gusting out to right-center field at 25 mph against D-C starting pitcher Mike Lodi (4-2). After Klein led off the game with a single, sophomore Tanner Scott launched an opposite-field home run to right center for a 2-0 lead.
Catcher Austin Jarvis singled and cleanup man Nick Hahn smacked another opposite-field home run to the same spot. Jeff Ehlers then hit a third home run in the inning, a high, windblown flyball that got up in the jetstream and drifted over the fence in right center. Five hitters, 5 runs for Central.
The Rockets were right back at it in their next at-bat, when they scored 9 runs on 10 hits, highlighted by home runs from Klein and junior Luke Fleming. Fleming's 3-run bomb to left made it 12-0 with one out in the top of the second inning.
Klein became the last regular in the Central order to notch a home run this season.
"It feels good to finally get one on the board," he said, smiling.
Fleming improved to 5-0 this season after he allowed 2 earned runs in 3 innings. "I tried to keep the ball low, stay ahead and keep the guessing," Fleming said. Joey Lange allowed 3 earned runs in 2 innings to close out the win.
Dundee-Crown (10-14-1) scored 3 runs in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 14-5, highlighted by a solo home run from Chris Sailor. But the Rockets responded with 2 runs in the top of the fifth, scoring on goundballs from Nolan Anderson and Drew Stover.
"You can't put yourself in that big a hole against very good teams," Dundee-Crown coach Jon Sawyer said. "You don't give yourself a chance down that many (runs) early."
Central won by the 10-run rule for the 13th time in 26 games, and the Class 3A program improved its record against Class 4A competition to 6-0.