FULTON, Ill. — By the time the first two innings were completed, the Fulton Steamers scored 22 runs. They scored the first seven without getting a hit.
Fulton advanced to the Illinois Class 1A regional semifinals by knocking out Eastland 22-2 in a game where Fulton showed patience early.
The first six hitters for the Steamers walked, and once Eastland starter Bubby Doubler was taken out after walking Faith Kennedy, the score was already 3-0.
Doubler did not record an out and threw 26 pitches. She found the strike zone twice, and in one stretch, she threw 14 consecutive balls.
All six of those hitters ended up scoring in the inning in which 13 Steamers stepped to the plate. The second-to-last hitter was shortstop Jenna Jones, and she picked up the first Fulton hit in a big way — the long ball.
“That was a pitch that was pretty much down the middle, and I was looking for it, and ready to hit it,” Jones said.
Jones hit a three-run home run to blow the game open 10-0 while Eastland was still trying to find a way to get out of the inning. It later did by striking out Fulton’s starting pitcher, Chelsea Lesniewski, who was one of the half-dozen who picked up a four-ball plate appearance earlier.
After Lesniewski retired Eastland in order in the top half of the second, the Steamers weren’t ready to just give in yet on the scoreboard.
Whitney Wynkoop led off the second inning with a single to right field that sparked the rally. Kennedy and Olivia Edfors followed suit with singles before Jenna James forced an error on Eastland shortstop Sam Sohl. Following another Eastland error and a couple of walks, Wynkoop came back up to the plate and hit a double to left-center field that brought in James.