BURLINGTON – Genoa-Kingston pitcher Baylie Ullmark held Kaneland in check for six innings.
Unfortunately for the Cogs, Knights pitcher Angie Morrow one-upped her counterpart in the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional semifinals, striking out 10 Cogs in a 1-0, complete-game victory.
Second-seeded Kaneland (20-11) advances to the regional final at 10 a.m. Saturday and will face top-seeded Burlington Central, where Morrow played her first two seasons before transferring to Kaneland.
“She just threw strikes. I don’t know how many 0-2 counts she had but it was a bunch,” Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. “So that puts a hitter in a difficult situation, when they have to watch her stuff coming in at 0-2, 1-2. It just gives her the big advantage in that situation.”
Ullmark allowed six hits in the circle. She walked two, struck out five and was able to get out of pressure situations for the third-seeded Cogs.
“My drop curve was working pretty well. I think my speed got them,” Ullmark said. “But, so did [Morrow]’s. She had that movement where we just couldn’t get ahold of it.”
Kaneland got its only run on a weird play in the top of the third. With two outs and Morgan Weber on third, Lanie Callaghan on second and Lexi Roach at the plate, G-K (16-12) catcher Paige Keegan saw Callaghan getting a big lead off second.
After a pitch from Ullmark, Keegan fired the ball toward second baseman Katie Thurlby and it looked like Callaghan would be out, but the throw was a little low and Thurlby couldn’t come up with it cleanly. Weber sprinted home and beat Thurlby’s throw for the only run of the contest.
“It was something Paige sees, she’s done that before and gotten people out, and it was a good throw, and we just didn’t catch the ball first,” G-K coach Mike Lauer said. “Would have been out of the inning. [Thurlby] just didn’t have the ball, so tough break.”
As soon as he saw the ball hit the ground, Willis told Weber to take off.
“She’s our leadoff hitter and very fast, so I thought she could make it,” Willis said.
Morrow gave up only three hits, two of which came courtesy of Kendyl Strack and the other from Thurlby. The Cogs had a runner on second with one out in the first, fourth and sixth innings, but couldn’t get the big hit.
Weber finished 2 for 3 for Kaneland.
Callaghan, Hayley Contorno, Morrow and Caroline Heimerdinger had the Knights’ other hits.