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Johnson: Burns, Morris softball make big impression

Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:43 p.m. CDT
(Craig Lincoln file photo for Shaw Media)
Morris pitcher Abby Burns hurls a fastball against Sandwich early in their game in Morris, Monday, March 31, 2014.

BRAIDWOOD – One half of the talented freshman vs. talented freshman pitching match-up that transpired at the Reed-Custer softball field Monday afternoon certainly lived up to the hype.

Morris righty Abby Burns pitched a six-inning no-hitter, finishing two outs shy of a perfect game. That was covered in detail in my game story that remains on and was in Tuesday’s paper.

The other half of the match-up didn’t get a fair shake. You might think Reed-Custer’s Kenna Wilkey pitched poorly if you knew only that she and the Comets had lost to Burns and the Redskins, 12-0. You would, in my opinion, be wrong.

Wilkey struck out the side in the top of the first inning. She worked around a bloop, two-out single from Emily Moore to hold down the Redskins in the second, striking out two more. And she started the third by getting two outs without letting anyone reach base.

What happened from there was partially Wilkey’s fault, but the fault was most definitely not hers alone. After Morris leadoff hitter Maddy Feeney reached on a bunt single, an error on a hard-hit ball by Kelly Kolotka kept alive an inning that should have ended. It should have ended again one batter later, when Wilkey struck out Lauren Severson, but a dropped third strike allowed Morris to keep batting. The inning should have ended again when the next hitter, Taya Torkelson, hit a soft line drive that was dropped by a Reed-Custer infielder.

Morris scored eight runs against Wilkey by the end of the inning. She did not come back out to the mound for the fourth. And yet some aspects of her pitching line – the zero earned runs allowed, the 8-0 strikeout-walk ratio – were excellent.

That’s not to say Wilkey was by any means as effective as Burns, who also didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven in six innings.

“She threw well today,” Morris coach Jen Lowery said of Burns. “She started to speed up her pitches and get a little more accurate toward the end of the game. She was getting hotter. We’re working on hitting her spots, but other than that, she did a great job for us.”

I think it should be said that Wilkey left much more of a positive impression than a negative one (I think that should go without saying for Burns) Monday. It was an intriguing pitching match-up between the two already. If they meet again in 2017, it could be something really special.

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