DeKALB – The offense, DeKalb softball coach Jeff David said, is clicking along just fine for his Barbs.
It’s the pitchers he wants to see gain confidence.
On Thursday against a Larkin team that has struggled this year, Davis let three of his pitchers get time in the circle as the Barbs knocked off the Royals, 13-3, in six innings.
Torrie Newport started and allowed one run in three innings. After freshman Rylee Levine pitched two perfect innings, freshman Ashley Nelson allowed two runs in her inning of work.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s one inning, two innings, three inning apiece – whatever it takes, we want all of our four, five pitchers to be sharp going into Monday and Tuesday,” Davis said. “(Friday against Streator) I think we’re going to take the same approach and get some kids some work in because you just don’t know who’s going to get you that final out in a ball game.”
Davis said he was particularly impressed with Levine’s performance – she struck out one and did not allow a ball out of the infield.
He said that’s she’s gotten some work in the circle in junior varsity games this year even though she’s also been a big part of the Barbs’ offense.
The Barbs open the playoffs Monday against Jefferson, and will face Huntley on Tuesday should they win, with both games in DeKalb.
“She doesn’t like pitching, but... six up, six down – she did great,” Davis said. “We might need her against Huntley to get an out, and if that’s the difference between winning and losing, I’m willing to throw her out there.”
Davis said Thursday was about getting confident, regardless of the competition level.
The Royals (7-24) have lost nine straight, and have allowed at least 12 runs in their past six games. They had given up 16 runs in each of the three games they had played this week coming into Thursday.
DeKalb (14-15-1) never trailed, scoring runs in the first four innings, then reaching the run rule with a five-run sixth.
“Once again offensively we were fantastic,” Davis said. “We’ve been hitting the ball well. Our lefties have been getting on base. It seems like when they get on base and do their thing everyone tends to follow. It’s a great thing this time of the season.”
Mya Millard paced the offense, going 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI doubles.
“I know we’ve been working as a team to get better, and it’s starting to show at the end of the year,” Millard said. “We’ve started to really play as a team and really show itself.”
By the numbers: Erin Karasewski had a hit and scored twice for the Barbs. Mallory Warner had two singles, two runs scored and an RBI. Amanda Ross had a double and scored twice, and Payton Montgomery had two runs, two singles and drove in a run. All three pitchers drove in a run.
Beyond the stats: The Barbs scored three in the third and could have had an even bigger inning, but had a pair of tough-luck outs.
Jenna Levine hit a rocket up the right side with Newport on first that would have been a single, but the ball hit the runner. Later in the frame with a runner on second, batter JC Longeville ran into the ball on a light tapper hit in front of the plate.
They said it: “It just keeps us together, keeps us moving forward and keeps us strong,” Millard said of the win. “It just keeps that game-hype that we have.”
Up next: Before the playoffs start, the Barbs close the regular season at home Friday against Streator. The regular season is over for the Royals, who play at Addison Trail in a play-in game of the Lake Park East Regional.