Wade Maisto was getting nervous.
Although his Burlington Central softball team was clinging to a 1-0 lead against Genoa-Kingston, the Rockets had left the bases loaded twice and the Central coach figured it would come back to bite them.
Maisto didn't relax much when Cogs' second baseman Dani Mathey made a diving stop to rob the Rockets of a run in the seventh, or when Cogs' pitcher Baylie Ullmark led off the bottom half with a double to the base of the fence in straightaway center.
But Central pitcher Brooke Gaylord bore down and got out of the inning as the Rockets (4-3, 1-0) held on for the 1-0 win in Big Northern East action in Genoa.
"We left a lot of baserunners on that didn't score, and that scares me," Maisto said. "Then they make the great defensive play to stop a run. We should have had a run in the seventh, but she stops a run, the second baseman, and I said, 'I don't like this at all.' So I told my pitcher, 'Let's go.' And then we give up a leadoff double."
Gaylord and Ullmark staged a classic pitchers' duel for four innings. The Rockets finally got on the board in the fifth when Bekah Harnish led off the inning with a single, her second hit of the game. Courtni Neubauer laid down a bunt, and Harnish wound up coming around to score after Ullmark threw wide of first base.
The Rockets went on to load the bases in the fifth, but couldn't extend the lead. It didn't matter, because Gaylord made it hold up. For the game, she struck out 11 and didn't walk anybody.
After giving up a leadoff triple in the first, she struck out the side to strand the runner. She allowed only one baserunner between the second and fourth, and just 2 hits thereafter.
"Gaylord was the player of the game for us," Maisto said.
The Rockets also loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but couldn't push a run across. For the game, they left 11 runners on base.