Softball: Burlington Central ousted in sectional semifinals
By Brandon Mangia For Sun-Times Media June 2, 2012 4:40PM
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:31AM
It’s hard enough to for teams to see their postseason end, but it was especially tough for Burlington Central on Saturday in a semifinal game against Marengo at the Class 3A Belvidere North Sectional.
The Rockets outhit the defending Class 3A champions, had more baserunners and got a strong pitching effort. However, they left 10 runners on base and gave up two unearned runs in a 3-0 loss.
The triumph marks the Indians’ third win over the Rockets this year after beating them twice in Big Northern East play. Marengo advances to Monday’s title game to play Sterling.
“We came out wanting to win; that was our whole goal. Not only making it to the sectional championship, but to beat Marengo,” said Central senior Emily Bell, who went 3-for-4 in her final game. “It’s hard to beat a team three times, but it was a good game and they got it done.”
After scoring on a fielder’s choice in the first inning, Marengo (33-5) went up 2-0 in the bottom of the third on an error in the outfield that allowed Reed Karsten to circle the bases.
The Rockets looked poised to at least get on the board in the fifth after a single from Bell loaded the bases with one out and the No. 3 hitter up. However, Marengo pitcher Lindsay Melson induced a ground ball forceout at home, followed by a pop up on the infield as the Indians escaped unscathed.
“That was a huge inning to go home,” said Marengo coach Dwain Nance. “They’re a very good hitting team. I don’t think they’ve been shut out all year and to do that shows the character of our team.”
Central (28-9) also left runners on first and second in both the first and sixth innings, and stranded runners at second and third in the third.
“It makes it frustrating because if we could have had our hits be more timely and come in a better bunch the game could have had a different outcome,” Bell said.
Marengo again used its speed to score an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth when a single from Taylor Carlson combined with an error in right field scored Bethany Hart all the way from first for a 3-0 lead.
Central freshman pitcher Angie Morrow (12-5) took the tough-luck loss, allowing just four hits and one earned run with eight strikeouts and one walk in a complete-game effort.
The Rockets tallied eight hits off Melson (23-5), who struck out five and allowed a walk.
“Our game plan was perfect. Holding Marengo to three is pretty good,” said Central coach Cray Allen. “We flat out gave them two runs. Melson killed us on that inside pitch when we had chances to score. Angie Morrow did a great job for us and gave everything she had.”
Junior Lauren King (2-for-3) also had a multi-hit game for Central, and Karsten paced Marengo’s offense with a hit and two runs.
“That was a very stressful game,” Nance said. “I think that was one of the most intense games I’ve been a part of. It was gut-wrenching all day.”