Burlington Central rallies past Kaneland to win Maisto's debut
For all the games Erica Maisto won as a player at Burlington Central, her first victory as coach meant more to her because of what it meant to her players.
The Rockets rallied for 3 runs in the bottom of the sixth, then turned a double play with the tying runs in scoring position in the seventh for a 4-2 victory over Kaneland, the third place finisher in last year's Class 3A state tournament.
"It's not me, I was just so proud of these girls," Maisto said. "They (Kaneland) are such a good team so it's just a great way to start our season and get the momentum going. Hopefully the girls can feed off it.
"My goal is to help in what way I can to help the girls win. I just want them to have success and enjoy this because that was what I was able to do."
Senior Emily Kisch certainly enjoyed Thursday's win. She drilled the game-tying double at the plate and earned the complete-game victory in the circle.
She also enjoys having Maisto in charge.
"I love her," Kisch said. "She's a great coach. I have never had a girl coach as a head coach so I'm really happy to have her. It's really exciting and it's new and she goes well with us girls and she knows what she's talking about so I'm really happy."
Kaneland (0-1) also was playing for a new coach, Mike Kuefler. After the Rockets took a 1-0 lead in the third on Jill Neisendorf's RBI groundout following an infield error that started the inning, the Knights plated 2 runs in the fourth for a 2-1 lead.
Hannah Theobald laced an RBI double to right field to score Meg Cohrs, who had singled. Starting pitcher Courtney Davis also went the opposite way, helping herself with a single to plate Theobald.
The turning point came in the top of the fifth. Alexis Abruzzo (2-for-4, double) and Alyson Jesionowski singled and Morgan Weber reached on a dropped fly ball to load the bases with no outs and Kaneland's 4-5-6 hitters coming up.
Maisto called time, then watched Kisch pitch out of the jam with a fielder's choice and 2 strikeouts to keep Burlington Central (1-0) within a run.
"I was nervous at first but I knew I had my defense behind me and together we could get all three outs," Kisch said.
Kaneland stranded 9 runners, and the Rockets made them pay with the winning rally in the sixth. Kristina Ahlers led off with a single and scored the tying run on Kisch's double. Gretchen Schrubbe (2-for-3) smacked a single up the middle that scored Kisch for a 3-2 lead, and Sarah Kinney plated an insurance run with a groundout.
The Rockets misplayed 2 flyballs in right field in the seventh to put the tying runs at second and third with 1 out. Theobald lined a ball but it was right at third baseman Schrubbe who snagged the blast and stepped on third base for a game-ending double play.
"I'm not disappointed with the outcome," Kuefler said. "We faced an exceptional pitcher. You can't take anything away from that young lady, she throws well. I thought our kids were disciplined at the plate. We took her deep in the count. Offensively we did our job. We left a lot of runners on."
Kisch struck out 8 and walked 3, allowing 8 hits.
"We do have some things to work on but I know throughout the whole season we will," Kisch said. "This is a big win for us."
For the article click on this link: