All was quiet before the first pitch of Tuesday’s Class 3A state tournament opener between Antioch and Richmond-Burton.
Amber Mysliwiec then woke everybody up.
“Coming down!” Antioch’s catcher roared, startling some people in Richmond-Burton’s dugout, before firing the ball down to second base.
The always enthusiastic Mysliwiec had extra reason to be excited.
Two years ago on the same field at Richmond-Burton, the then-freshman call-up lifted a sacrifice fly in extra innings, lifting the Sequoits past Johnsburg in the teams’ regional final.
“Biggest (play) of my life so far,” Mysliwiec said, “because it brought us a regional (championship).”
The good vibes at R-B continued for Mysliwiec on Tuesday. In her return to Richmond, she contributed a single and 2-run double in the third inning of Antioch’s 12-2, five-inning win over Richmond-Burton, which had rallied past Woodstock North in Monday’s regional play-in.
“This place loves me, or I love this place — it’s one of the two,” a smiling Mysliwiec said. “I came out strong. We all did, actually. We couldn’t have done it without everyone.”
Regional top-seed Antioch (25-8) advances to Saturday’s 11 a.m. final against the winner of today’s game between No. 2 Lakes and No. 3 Johnsburg.
Antioch struck for 3 unearned runs off Richmond-Burton lefty Jessica Kerns in the bottom of the first. Sam Kozenski’s 2-run double down the right-field line provided the key blow with two out.
The Sequoits sent 13 batters to the plate in the third, scoring 9 runs. The inning started with consecutive singles by Olivia Duehr, Mysliwiec and Katie Phillips (RBI). Kaylene Ressler (fielder’s choice), Amber Larson (walk), Sage Keyes (fielder’s choice), Jess Liszka (2-run single), Mysliwiec (2-run double) and Phillips (run-scoring single) later knocked in runs.
“I thought our at-bats were a little unfocused the first couple of innings,” Antioch coach Jeff Tylka said. “The third inning we were a little more patient letting pitches get deeper in the strike zone, trying to drive the ball gap to gap.”
Down 12-0 after three, Richmond-Burton (12-13) got a 2-run homer to center field from left-handed-hitting Riley Stanton (2-for-2) in the fourth. The Rockets had scored 8 runs in the bottom of the sixth against Woodstock North to wipe out an 8-0 deficit.
“It was incredible that they came back like that,” Mysliwiec said of the Rockets. “It shows that they’re a good team. It shows that they’re dedicated.”
“We had people here watching for me,” Antioch coach Jeff Tylka said. “They left when it was 7-0.”
Duehr made sure the Rockets didn’t have another big comeback in them. She pitched a 3-hitter, striking out 11 and walking three in her 5 innings.
“Olivia threw her best,” Mysliwiec said. “She did absolutely amazing.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.