Last month, Rolling Meadows senior pitcher Sara Brunlieb received a birthday present of four tickets for Brad Paisley's country music concert on Saturday night in Tinley Park.
Brunlieb was nice enough to invite good friend Erin Barton as one of her guests.
Earlier in the day, Barton's bat wasn't as nice to Brunlieb.
Barton, Buffalo Grove's senior third baseman, lined a two-out double to right center for the game-winning RBI as the Bison blanked the visiting Mustangs 2-0 in the Mid-Suburban East contest.
BG sophomore pitcher Julia Camardo (12-7) tied her career-high of 13 strikeouts while tossing a 1-hitter.
"How rude," joked Brunlieb about the hit from her longtime friend who celebrated her birthday earlier this week. "It was a great game. Their pitcher did a great job. It was just going to come down to the team that got the first big hit and unfortunately for us, it was their team."
The Bison improved to 13-8 and 9-5 in the MSL East, holding a 1½-game lead over five-time defending champion Elk Grove (20-11, 8-7).
Barton's big hit drove home Bison leadoff batter Caitlyn Catino, who reached on a one-one bunt single, stole second and went to third on Dea Barton's groundout.
Camardo followed with a two-out RBI single to center to drive home Erin Barton for the 2-0 margin.
"It was all about making adjustments at the plate because we hadn't done hit her well the first time we played," Barton said. "I've known Sara since we were eight years old. She's always very consistent and has done a great job containing our bats."
Brunlieb (11-12), Meadows' all-time winningest pitcher with 46 triumphs, was throwing a 2-hitter with 7 strikeouts going into the decisive sixth-inning at-bat for BG.
"Sara pitched great," said Meadows coach Tony Wolanski. "Their No. 3 hitter (Erin Barton) just got the big hit. She's really a good player and gets big hits. Their pitcher did a good job today."
Camardo allowed her only hit on an infield single by Lane Winkler in between striking out the side in the first inning. The sophomore right-hander also struck out the side in the seventh.
"Julia has been good at getting us out of tough situations all season," said BG coach Jamie Paul. "I definitely couldn't ask anymore of her. She has shut down the other teams when we've needed it."
Other than Winkler, Meadows' only other baserunner was Hannah Whidden.
The senior first baseman led off the second by reaching on an error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Emily Hattory. But Camardo got the next two batters on grounders back to the mound.
Whidden was also hit by a pitch with two outs in the fourth before Camardo retired the final 10 batters she faced.
"After Julia got that insurance run for us (in sixth), we knew she could shut them down in the seventh," Paul said. "To Rolling Meadows' credit, their pitcher kept us off balance the whole game.
"In the sixth inning, we said it's late in the game 'let's sneak in a run.' We told the kids we had to manufacture a run. And they came through. Caitlyn (Catino) put down that bunt, stole second and advanced to third by Dea and then Erin got the clutch double."
BG's only other hits outside the sixth inning were a two-out double to left by Camardo in the fourth and a one-out single to right by catcher Amanda Salzman in the second.
The Bison will try to finish its MSL slate strong with road games at Hersey on Monday and Prospect on Tuesday.
"We just want to worry about our games and do the best we can to win them," Paul said." We've just got to keep rolling and come together at the end of the season."
Meadows (15-13, 5-10) )finishes its MSL East schedule at home on Monday against Elk Grove.
"We've got to make some adjustments hitting," he said. "And we will continue to try and get better for the playoffs."
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