Technically, it was a late-season nonconference game, little more than a playoff tuneup. Neither team started its No. 1 pitcher. But it was still Hampshire-Burlington Central, so there was a playoff atmosphere in Hampshire.
Central used an 8-run second inning to power its way to the 13-3 win, spoiling Hampshire's senior day festivities.
The Whip-Purs jumped on Central starter Ashley Ratliff, just called up from the JV, early. They scored 3 runs in the first inning, 2 on Peyton DeChant's home run to center field.
But Ratliff got over her case of nerves and held Hampshire scoreless the rest of the way while the Rockets' bats came alive. Central batted around in the second. Tori Harvey, Kristina Ahlers, Bekah Harnish and Emily Kisch drove in a run apiece before Kassidy Gaylord provided an exclamation point with a 3-run homer to left center.
"I thought Ashley did a real nice job keeping us in every inning as the game went on," said Central coach Wade Maisto. "Both pitchers had a tough go of it because the ball was carrying pretty well today."
Hampshire started all 5 of its seniors, and wanted to come out strong after getting shut out the day before and missing out on a chance to be Fox Valley Conference Fox Division champions outright.
"That's how we wanted them to come out after losing to Grayslake North (Tuesday) and them shutting us out," said Hampshire coach Stacey Stepek, whose team tied for the FVC Fox title with Grayslake Central but is still seeking its 20th win. "So to jump on them early, that felt good."
Ratliff walked 5 on the day, including at least one in every inning after the first, but Hampshire (19-13) couldn't take advantage, getting just one more hit.
Kisch finished with 3 hits and 3 runs driven in for the Rockets (20-9). Harnish in the leadoff spot had 2 hits and scored 3 times.
Brittany Sujet had a single and double for Hampshire, and DeChant reached base all 3 times.
Central added 3 runs in the fourth inning, with 2 scoring on Kisch's double to the fence in left, and scored twice on wild pitches in the fifth. Hampshire couldn't score in the bottom half, giving the Rockets the five-inning victory.