BELMONT — It was over nearly as quickly as it began.
Sophomore catcher Katelyn Schobert was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the first inning igniting an 11-run rally that lasted for nearly 20 minutes.
Senior right fielder Daisy Cuzenheim ripped a two-run double and a two-run triple in the inning, and junior first baseman Mallary Ray added a two-run homer as the Braves cruised to an easy 17–2 Division 4 regional final victory over Highland Thursday at Belmont’s Bond Park.
It was the 12th regional title in the past 16 years for Belmont, which is ranked second in Division 4 in the latest Fastpitch Chronicle rankings.
“I know we have won 12 of 16 now, but honestly it never gets old because of the excitement for the kids,” said Belmont head coach Jeff Hodgson. “Each year it’s a new group of girls. And I am so proud of this year’s team and all of their hard work because it has paid off.”
Schobert scored on a wild pitch, before Kayln Kamps and Emma Eastlick, who both walked, were driven in on Cunzenheim’s two-run double.
Junior Emma Lee followed with an RBI double, and Ray’s ensuing two-run blast to deep centerfield made it 6–0.
Senior left fielder Ali Linnemann drew a walk to chase Highland freshman pitcher Bailey Rose from the game.
“They had a freshman getting in a little trouble with walks and we took advantage of getting those extra base runners,” said Hodgson. “We got to them early and put the game away.”
Freshman Brook Knebel, Schobert, junior Audrey Wedig and Kamps all drew walks from reliever Carrie McMannes, then Cunzenheim tripled down the right field line to make it 11–0.
Cunzenheim finished the game 2-for-3 with four RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. Lee went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Kalyn Kamps (20–4) picked up her 20th win of the season in the pitching circle and aided her own cause with a two-run triple in the second inning.
Belmont (20–4) advanced to face Monticello (12–2) in Tuesday’s D4 sectional semifinal at Bond Park.
With a win the Braves will face either New Lisbon (17-2) or De Soto (16–3) Thursday’s Potosi sectional final at 5 p.m. with a berth in next week’s state tournament on the line.
Belmont has been to state five times since 1999 under Hodgson (1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008) winning the title in ’02 and finishing second in both ’03 and ’06.
Last Tuesday Schobert went 2-for-2 with a two-run double and Jordyn Kamps went 2-for-2 with two RBIs as the Braves defeated Wauzeka–Steuben 7–2 in the regional semifinals.
WIAA Division 4 Regional Semifinal
Belmont 7, Wauzeka–Steuben 2
(from Tuesday, May 21 @ Belmont)
Wauzeka–Steuben 000 002 0 — 2 3 1
Belmont 010 114 x — 7 10 0
Leading hitters — B: Katelyn Schobert 2x4, Jordyn Kamps 2x2. 2B — B: Schobert, Kalyn Kamps, Emma Eastlick. W — Kalyn Kamps (19–4, 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 12 SO, 1 BB). L — Marfilius (6 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 3 SO, 1 BB).
WIAA Division 4 Regional Final
Belmont 17, Highland 2
(from Thursday, May 23 @ Belmont)
Highland. 000 20 — 2 4 0
Belmont (11)33 0x — 17 8 1
Leading hitters — B: Daisy Cuzenheim 2x3, Emma Lee 2x4. 2B — B: Cuzenheim, Lee. 3B — B: Cuzenheim, Kalyn Kamps. HR — H: Bomkamp; B: Mallary Ray. W — Kalyn Kamps (20–4, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 SO, 1 BB). L — Rose (3.1 IP, 6 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 5 SO, 7 BB).