Burlington Central survives Genoa-Kingston in 8
With Burlington Central down to its final 5 outs, the Rockets didn't flinch.
Gretchen Schrubbe had a pair of RBI singles as the Rockets came back to beat Genoa-Kingston, 2-1, in 8 innings in the semifinals of the Class 3A Genoa-Kingston softball regional Wednesday.
The top-seeded Rockets (17-16) will play for their second straight regional title Saturday at 10 a.m. against Thursday's Hampshire-Sycamore winner.
"This is a group that has played a tough schedule all year, they've faced adversity and they know how to handle adversity," said Rockets' coach Kyle Molik. "They played that schedule to get to this moment today and they answered. You play that schedule to get to the postseason. They knew that and they answered that adversity today."
After missing nearly a month with back pain, Emily Kitsch returned to the circle with a vengeance. She held the hosts to 5 hits while striking out 10 and walking no one.
But the Rockets' offense couldn't get untracked, mustering just 3 hits against Cogs' ace Baylie Ullmark through 5 innings. Meanwhile, the Cogs took a 1-0 lead in the third on Kendyl Strack's double and Dani Mathey's single.
With one out in the sixth, Kristina Ahlers launched a booming triple to right. After Kassi Gaylord walked, Schrubbe hit a smash off the glove of shortstop Lexi Howie that scored Ahlers.
In the eighth, Amanda Ratliff and Kisch reached on dropped fly balls. Ahlers sacrificed them over and Gaylord was walked semi-intentionally. Schrubbe then came through again, with a hard grounder up the middle into center field.
"I just thought, 'Wow, I've got to get these girls in,' " said Schrubbe. "It was a big win for us, beating them for the third time. That's hard to do. I knew that with runners on I just needed a base hit."
Kisch retired 13 in a row following Mathey's single, striking out 6 of them. She fanned the side in the sixth inning.
Alyssa Mish had a pair of hits for the Rockets. She led off the fourth inning with a double, but Ullmark fanned the next 3 batters to escape the jam.