Softball: Hampshire tops Burlington Central in FVC battle

Hampshire Whip-Purs logo

BURLINGTON – Hampshire’s 10-5 win Wednesday was a weird one – a perfect storm of strange occurrences.

Or maybe it was just another day in the Hampshire-Burlington Central rivalry.

Whichever it was, the Whip-Purs will take it. They built a big early lead, survived a Rockets rally in the middle innings, then pulled away at the end for the Fox Valley Conference victory on Rocket Hill.

Bria Riebel had three hits and scored three times, and Melissa Johnson drove in four runs with a double and a groundout for Hampshire, which moved to 9-5 overall, 3-3 in the FVC. Lily Sippel earned the win.

It was a rough day all around for the Rockets. Starting pitcher Addisyn Petersen sprained her ankle when she stepped in a rut while warming up before the fourth inning.

Later, Burlington (9-8, 3-5) saw the potential tying runs taken off the board when the batter was ruled out of the batter’s box. A couple of wind-blown hits contributed to the Whip-Purs’ rallies on an unusually blustery day on Rocket Hill.

“That’s the way we’ve gone,” Hampshire coach Jeremy Bauer said. “Teams make their runs, and if we can respond to it, that’s just a step in the right direction. Sometimes we get a little nervous in those situations and make some errors, but today we came back and did what we needed to do.”

Hampshire took a first-inning lead on singles by Carissa Schuman and Riebel and a double by Mia Robinson. The Whips added four more in the third on just two hits – singles by Riebel and Alexa Schuring. They took advantage of a walk, a hit batter, three stolen bases, two wild pitches and Johson’s RBI grounder.

After Petersen left the game, reliever Isabelle Reed held Hampshire in check for the next two innings while the home team rallied.

Consecutive singles by Anna Sanders, Danielle Durckel and Mei Shirokawa made it a 6-4 game. Allie Botkin’s smash to center field appeared to tie the game as Durckel and Shirokawa crossed the plate, but Botkin was ruled out of the box and the runs didn’t count.

Hampshire got some insurance in the sixth, again with only two hits. Riebel’s third hit of the day drove in Sophia Hagevold with a run. After Schuring and Robinson walked, Johnson cleared the bases.

The Rockets got a run back in the bottom half on Durckel’s double. The Rockets loaded the bases, but Sippel got a strikeout to end the threat.

Sippel gave way to Morgan Trent in the seventh after having thrown about 150 pitches, and Trent got the final three outs.

“This team works hard,” Central coach Bill Morrow said. “They got out there and they work hard. They’ll get better.”