Prep softball: Barnum uses fast start to upend Esko, 13-3
Alizondra Collelo earned the win in the circle for the Bombers with six strikeouts in seven innings pitched.
ESKO — Freshman Alizondra Collelo hurled six strikeouts over seven innings for Barnum en route to a 13-3 complete-game victory over Polar League Conference rival Esko, Tuesday, April 25, at the Esko Athletic Complex.
The young pitcher’s control of the circle, which featured three shutout innings to open the contest, helped set the tone, according to head coach Dustin Collelo.
“(She) threw a lot of change-ups and was really mixing speeds a lot, mixing locations. That just kind of kept them off-balance,” he said. “I’m sure they’re a pretty good hitting team, so I think that was the start of it was in the circle for us.”
The Eskomos were forced to play catch-up from the first inning on after surrendering four runs in Barnum’s opening plate appearance marred by a costly error and numerous walks.
The performance was a source of disappointment for head coach Jeff Emanuel after coming away with a signature win over Section 7AA contender Rock Ridge a week earlier.
“We didn’t throw strikes, we didn’t make plays (and) we didn’t hit the ball, so all three concepts of the game, we just weren’t very good,” he said. (It was) a flip-flop from a week ago when we played one of the top teams in our section and beat them, and then we just didn’t show up for this game at all.”
Starting pitcher Kaelyn Foxx lasted just one inning for the Eskomos after surrendering four walks and one hit for a pair of quick runs. A back-breaking error in the infield extended Barnum’s two-out rally as two more runs came across.
After a fifth batter walked in the second, eighth-grader Kiera Leach took over in relief, and remained in the circle for the balance of the game.
“To start the game (our pitching) has to be better. Kiera Leach, our eighth-grader, came in and she threw really well. But we didn’t help her on the defensive end as well. I was just telling the girls, I said every error you make you’re putting 10 more pitches on a pitcher.”
The pitching change did little to deter the Barnum hitters, however, as the group drove in two more runs, highlighted by an RBI double off the bat of Jacinda Wright for her first of two hits in the contest. The 6-0 advantage stood until the fourth inning.
“It’s always big to get that lead right away in the game and let them chase us rather than the other way around,” Collelo said. “Their pitcher struggled a little bit, but we had some good timely hits too.”
Lizzie Hartlieb led all Esko hitters with a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate, which included a double in the fourth inning to set up an RBI line drive single up the middle by Leach for the team’s first run. The Eskomos added two more runs in their next time up with Hartlieb connecting on her second extra-base hit.
“Lizzie Hartlieb was unbelievable, but no one could pick her up in continual fashion,” Emanuel said. “We had a couple of nice at-bats (but) once you’re down 6-0, you can’t play small ball, you just have to hit. You can’t really steal. You can’t chance an out when you’re down 6-0.”
The Bombers put an exclamation point on their rare win over the Eskomos with six additional runs plated over the final two innings with Nevaeh Louks, Dana Buell and Wright each collecting a run-scoring hit.