Ahlers' double helps Burlington Central down Elgin

Elgin senior Jenna Lombardo isn't a pitcher who is going to strike out a lot of batters with velocity.

But Burlington Central's Kristina Ahlers will be the first to tell you that Lombardo is a difficult pitcher to adjust to.

The Rockets had all kinds of trouble getting anything going off the Elgin right-hander Monday until Ahlers delivered a 3-run double in the top of the seventh inning to lift BC to a 4-1 nonconference softball win over the Maroons in Elgin.

"It was tough adjusting to pitching like that because we haven't seen it," said Ahlers. "I just came in at the right time, got the RBIs and we got the win. That's all that matters."

Junior Emily Kisch fired a 4-hitter with 12 strikeouts to earn the win for the Rockets (2-3).

Central had a golden opportunity to have a big first inning when it loaded the bases with one out. But Lombardo caught Gretchen Schrubbe's pop up back to the circle and fired to Jemiyah Stewart at third to double up Courtni Neubauer, who had been off with the pitch, and end the inning.

The Rockets did break through for a run in the third. Senior Amanda Ratliff beat out an infield single to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to second by Neubauer but had to stop at third on Kisch's bloop double to right-center. Ahlers' groundout to short was able to plate Ratliff and give the Rockets a 1-0 lead.

The Maroons (0-7) had a chance to tie in the bottom of the sixth when junior Rachel Turner, the No. 9 hitter, ripped a clean single up the middle to start the inning. Turner went to second on a wild pitch and third on Lombardo's groundout but Kisch got a strikeout for the third out, leaving Turner stranded at third.

Burlington Central's seventh inning started with a walk to junior pinch-hitter Bryn Lawler. Ratliff then beat out her second infield hit of the day and Neubauer reached on a bunt single to load the bases. With one out, Ahlers lined a shot to the base of the fence in center field to clear the bases and give the Rockets a 4-0 lead.

"That was huge. It turned out to be the game-winning hit," said BC coach Kyle Molik. "(Ahlers) stepped up and stayed focused and Bryn Lawler getting the walk to lead off the inning was big. Kristina's been hitting the ball well lately. We had to adjust today. Jenna did a nice job of keeping us off balance so credit to her."

Elgin didn't quit, though, and came back to break up the shutout and bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.

With one out senior Paige Walker drew a walk and went to second on a wild pitch and Cassidy Sell walked, the only walks Kisch issued all day. The runners moved up on Stewart's groundout and with two outs, junior Madison Latham singled to score Walker. But Kisch got her 12th and final strikeout to end the game.

"Last year against Kisch, with (Jennah) Perryman, (Kelly) Bremer and (Anna) Eckholm we struck out 14 times and today 12," said Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales. "We need to put the ball in play more but we were right there until the end. The second time around we made some adjustments and made better contact."

Even though the Maroons are winless, Bumbales felt Monday was another step forward as his team heads into Upstate Eight Conference play this week.

"Of the seven games we've played that's the best game we've played," he said. "The idea is to get ready for conference and get a little better every game and I think we have. The defense was much better today and we've struggled some on defense."

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.