Softball

High school softball: Rodriguez's 4-hit effort leads Richmond-Burton past Woodstock

RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton senior Alexa Rodriguez needed a home run in her fourth at-bat Thursday against Woodstock to complete the cycle, but instead settled for the next best thing: a run-scoring base hit.

Rodriguez hustled into second base as the throw from right field went up the third-base line and bounced into the Rockets dugout in the fifth inning, allowing Peyton Bannon to score and giving Rodriguez third base.

The next batter, Ashley Turner, hit a soft grounder to third.

When Blue Streaks third baseman Katie Walsh tossed to first for a potential force out, Rodriguez raced for home. The throw sailed high, and Rodriguez scored the last run in a 12-2 Kishwaukee River Conference victory in five innings.

“They just told me, so that’s pretty crazy,” Rodriguez said of her bid for a cycle against the Blue Streaks. “It would have been my second one of this season. I was just looking to move runners up, try to get on base, and score for my team."

Rodriguez, who leads R-B with six home runs and 33 RBIs, went 4 for 4 with a double, a triple, three runs scored and three RBIs.

She was one of five Rockets hitters to finish with multiple hits. R-B scored five runs in the first and five in the third, taking a 10-2 lead.

Bannon finished 2 for 3 with two doubles, two runs scored and drove in two runs, Ashley Turner was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Kaitie Regnier was 2 for 3 with two stolen bases and a run. Abby Hayden, Bella Spittler and Sophie Schwegel all drove in a run, and Haylie Regnier was 2 for 2.

“We’ve peaked when we needed to peak, and we’re finishing strong,” R-B coach Vicki Klopf said, whose team won its final three KRC games, including its first victory against Burlington Central in the past four seasons.

“Our bats are hot right now, as long as we get it started. If one of them gets it going, the rest hop on the train.”

Klopf had Rodriguez as a freshman when she coached on the lower levels and has seen the senior's all-around game grow from a contact and speed hitter to one with power to all fields.

“I’m so proud of how she has developed as a young athlete, especially with the power,” Klopf said. “When I had her as a freshman, she had speed, but she didn’t have that bat. She’s got that killer combination.”

Rachael Hayden, also a senior, earned the win on senior night for the Rockets (13-10, 8-4). She allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in five innings with four strikeouts and no walks.

"She stays in her head whether she's in the box or on the mound," Klopf said. "She puts the ball where she needs to put it, and she's a great leader."

Hayden worked inside with her fastball against the Blue Streaks (13-15, 3-9), and also had success with her changeup. She threw 47 of 64 pitches for strikes in the complete-game victory.

"To take the win on senior night is really cool," Hayden said. "It was good to get a head start (with a five-run first inning). We feel good going into the postseason. We feel ready and we're excited."

Woodstock's Jocelyn Eisenmenger took the loss, allowing 10 runs in three innings. She gave Woodstock its second run on a two-out RBI single to score Natalie Hansen in the third inning.

Walsh (1 for 2) scored the first run for the Streaks on a delayed double steal. Michelle Hanson added a hit and a steal in two at-bats.

"(Richmond-Burton) just out-hit us today," Woodstock coach Steve Beard said. "Their hitters did a nice job against us. We'll have two good practices, and we'll get ready for Woodstock North (next Monday in a Class 2A Woodstock North Regional first-round game)."

UNSUNG HERO

Rachael Hayden

Richmond-Burton, sr., P

Hayden had pinpoint control and didn’t issue any walks in a complete-game victory. The senior struck out four, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits in five innings.

THE NUMBER

11: Batters for Richmond-Burton in a five-run first inning

AND ANOTHER THING…

Woodstock center fielder Michelle Hanson was unable to run down Alexa Rodriguez's double in the second inning, but she made a head-first, diving catch to rob Abby Hayden in the fourth and led the Blue Streaks with four putouts.

Richmond-Burton 12, Woodstock 2 (5 inn.)

Woodstock 011 00 – 2 3 2
Richmond-Burton 505 02 – 12 15 2

WP: Rachael Hayden (5IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 4K). LP: Jocelyn Eisenmenger (3IP, 11H, 10R, 10ER, 2BB, 1K).

Top hitters – Woodstock: Eisenmenger 1-2 (RBI), Walsh 1-2 (SB, R), Hanson 1-2 (SB). Richmond-Burton: K. Regnier 2-3 (2SB, R), Schwegel 1-4 (RBI, R), Bannon 2-3 (2 2B, 2R, 2RBI), Rodriguez 4-4 (2B, 3B, 3R, 3RBI), Turner 2-4 (2RBI), H. Regnier 2-2 (R), A. Hayden 1-2 (RBI, R), Spittler 1-3 (RBI, R).

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