BELMONT – Belmont’s offense did not go into hibernation during the off-season.
In the opening week of the season, the Lady Braves pounded out 49 hits– including four home runs and 16 doubles– and have outscored their opponents 37-8 on their way to a 3-0 start.
After rolling to 10-run rule victories over Pecatonica (18-3 in six innings) last Tuesday and Dodgeville (13-0 in five innings) last Thursday, the Braves needed to go the distance to rally past Cuba City for a 6-5 win in their home opener at Bond Park on Monday, April 2.
Center fielder Emma Eastlick drilled a walk-off double to plate pitcher Kalyn Kamps for the winning run with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to complete Belmont’s late-inning comeback.
Kamps, who held the Cubans off the scoreboard in the sixth and seventh innings, opened the Braves’ seventh by dribbling a slow grounder up the third base line. The junior beat the throw to first for an infield single, then advanced to second on a throwing error to move into scoring position.
After Eastlick fouled off the first pitch on a bunt attempt, Coach Jeff Hodgson let her hit away and it paid off as the junior lined a shot into the left-center gap to bring in Kamps for the game-winner.
The Braves displayed plenty of adversity and clutch hitting throughout the game, but showed they are cool under pressure by twice rallying from behind against a tough Cuba City squad.
Belmont opened up a 2-0 lead in the first inning after taking advantage of a dropped third strike to open the scoring. After senior shortstop Molly Bockhop reached on what would have been the third out, senior second baseman Nikki Jenkins ripped a double to score Bockhop and Kamps lined a RBI-single to bring in Jenkins for a 2-0 lead.
The Cubans answered with two runs of their own in the top of the second inning, then the guests grabbed a 4-2 advantage on Shelly Augustine’s two-run double in the fourth.
Third baseman Emma Lee evened the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fourth when she blasted a two-out, two-run home run to dead center field, but the Cubans regained the lead in the fifth on a RBI-single by pitcher Heidi Tranel.
Belmont deadlocked the score at five all in the sixth on Katelyn Schobert’s RBI-single, then won it in the seventh on Eastlick’s clutch hit.
Kamps and Schobert each had three hits and drove in a run for the Braves, while Eastlick went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a RBI. Mallary Ray added two hits and two runs, and Lee went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run.
Kamps also notched the complete-game win after giving up five runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
Augustine was 2-for-4 with three runs batted in for the Cubans.
At Blanchardville, on Tuesday, March 27, the Lady Braves scored seven runs in the fourth inning and eight runs in the sixth to rally past the Pecatonica Vikings, 18-3, in their season opener.
Belmont hammered out 18 hits and nine doubles in the game, led by pitcher Kalyn Kamps who was 3-for-3 with three doubles and catcher Katelyn Schobert who was 4-for-5 with two doubles.
Daisy Cuzenheim, Molly Bockhop and Mallary Ray each had two hits, while Bockhop, Ray, Niki Jenkins and Emma Lee drilled doubles for the Braves.
At Dodgeville, on Thursday, March 29, pitcher Kalyn Kamps tossed a two-hit shutout and struck out 12 batters while teammates Molly Bockhop, Emma Lee and Katelyn Schobert each blasted a home run to lead the Lady Braves to a 13-0 non-conference decision over the host Dodgers.
Bockhop launched a three-run homer during the Braves’ four-run first inning rally, and Lee and Schobert ripped back-to-back dingers during the four-run second inning outburst to put Belmont ahead 8-0.
The Braves put the game away with five runs in the top of the fifth.
Schobert and Bockhop each were 4-for-4 with three runs scored to lead the Braves, while Nikki Jenkins went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored. Kamps also had a double.
Belmont hosts Cassville/River Ridge in their Six Rivers West opener on Thursday, April 3, at Bond Park, starting at 5 p.m.
The Braves host Galena on Monday, April 9, and Lancaster on Tuesday, April 10, in non-conference action. Each game is set to start at 4:30 p.m.
Cuba City... 020 210 0 - 5 8 2
Belmont….. 200 201 1 - 6 15 3
Leading Hitters: Katelyn Schobert 3x4, Kalyn Kamps 3x4, Emma Eastlick 2x3, Mallary Ray 2x3, Emma Lee 2x2. HR- Lee. 2B- Molly Bockhop, Niki Jenkins, Eastlick (2).
WP- Kalyn Kamps. LP- Tranel.
Belmont….… 001 728 - 18 18 0
Pecatonica… 101 010 - 3 8 2
Leading Hitters: Katelyn Schobert 4x5, Kalyn Kamps 3x3, Daisy Cuzenheim 2x3, Molly Bockhop 2x3, Mallary Ray 2x3. 2B- Schobert (2), Kamps (3), Bockhop, Nikki Jenkins, Mallory Ray, Emma Lee.
WP- Kalyn Kamps. LP- Demler.
Belmont.….. 440 05 - 13 16 1
Dodgeville... 000 00 - 0 2 2
Leading Hitters: Katelyn Schobert 4x4, Molly Bockhop 4x4, Niki Jenkins 3x4. HR- Schobert, Bockhop, Emma Lee. 2B- Jenkins (2), Kalyn Kamps.
WP- Kalyn Kamps. LP- NA.