One inning of offensive production was enough Thursday for the Burlington Central baseball team.
The Rockets scored six times in the bottom of the first inning as they defeated Marengo, 6-2, in the Class 3A Burlington Central regional semifinals.
“We had adrenaline for the playoffs. We’ve been looking forward to it all year,” said Central senior Michael Scott, who had a 2-run double in the first. “It’s nice to come out right away and put up six.”
No. 2 seed Central (15-11) could use a good start Saturday as well when it plays No. 1 Hampshire at 11 a.m. in the regional championship game.
Mike Lee led off the bottom of the first Thursday with a single. Blake Alexander and Bryan Cynova each drew walks off Marengo starter Matt Conroy to load the bases for Scott. Scott doubled to bring in Lee and Alexander. Cynova scored on an RBI groundout from Cody Schuver for a 3-0 lead. Ryan Schuring had a run-scoring double. Reed Hunnicutt and Drew Wiss added RBI singles in the inning.
The Rockets had baserunners in every inning except the sixth. But Central was unable to get another key hit to bring in any insurance runs.
“We didn’t score any runs after the first, but I was pleased with our approach and pleased with the way we put the bat on the ball,” Rockets coach Kyle Nelson said.
Central starter Dan Gerke had more than enough support. Gerke (6-3) allowed 5 hits and 2 runs, both unearned in the second as the Rockets committed 2 errors. The junior right-hander walked 2, hit a batter and struck out 8.
“He’ll tell you today he didn’t have his best stuff,” Nelson said. “He battled with two pitches, usually he has three or four working. He was able to locate just enough.”
Conroy (4-4) settled down after the first inning for the third-seeded Indians (12-9). He allowed just 3 hits after the first. He walked 2 and struck out 3.
“(Conroy) could have folded after the first inning,” Marengo coach Josh Maas said. “That shows what kind of leader he is. He kept us in the game.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.