There's nothing like starting the postseason by scoring 4 runs before the other team records an out.
The Burlington Central softball team scored quickly and often Tuesday, beating both Sycamore and the weather in the semifinals of the Class 3A Central regional on Rocket Hill.
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The Rockets (22-9) rapped out 13 hits and sophomore Emily Kisch tossed a 4-hitter in the 12-0 win as top-seeded Central advanced to Saturday's 10 a.m. championship game against the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 2 Kaneland and No. 3 Genoa-Kingston.
"Sycamore has a good hitting team so I give Kisch and our defense a lot of credit," said BC coach Wade Maisto. "I feel good about our defense right now and we've got good pitching. It's all coming together and they're doing what they're supposed to be doing."
There was no doubt the Rockets came ready to play. Their first six batters reached base and the seventh drove in a run with a sacrifice fly as Central built a 6-0 lead after one inning.
Senior Bekah Harnish (2-for-2) walked to lead off the inning and after junior Courtni Neubauer (3-for-3) beat out a bunt that sent Harnish to third, Kisch's fielders choice grounder resulted in an error on Sycamore's catcher, who had Harnish out at the plate but dropped the ball. Senior Brooke Gaylord drove an RBI single to center field, her junior sister Kassidy ripped a 2-run double to left and Becca Gerke drove an RBI single to right before Tori Harvey's sac fly, which drove in Kassidy Gaylord, became the first our. Kristina Ahlers followed with an RBI single and Kisch (11-4) had more than enough to work with. She allowed the Spartans (10-22) only 4 singles while striking out 7, walking none and hitting one batter.
"It makes it a lot easier," said Kisch of pitching with the big lead. "I was pretty nervous today because we haven't played Sycamore but I have a lot of confidence in my offense."
Kisch delivered the big hit in the second, a 3-run bomb over the fence in left field and into the teeth of a strong crosswind to make it 9-0. Harnish drove in Kelly Wiater, who re-entered to run after Amanda Ratliff doubled, with run No. 10 in the third and the Rockets added 2 insurance runs in the fourth as Brooke and Kassidy Gaylord each had another hit and Harvey an RBI single.
"We executed well in the first and it took off from there," said Maisto. "We did a lot of little things real well today."