RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton's Jesse Klicker didn't think anybody had a shot at clearing the fences Friday with the wind blowing in.
The sophomore second baseman surprised herself in the first inning, pulling a ball down the left-field line and keeping it just inside the foul pole for the first of four homers for R-B.
Junior shortstop and Wisconsin commit Peyton Bannon ripped two homers, and Carys De Lucia had one as the Rockets mashed their way to a 10-2 nonconference win in five innings against Crystal Lake Central.
The game, which started 15 minutes early, was called after five innings because R-B had a National Honor Society induction ceremony planned for later in the night.
The Rockets (5-0-1) have yet to lose this season and are averaging 10 runs a game.
"I was really surprised," Klicker said of her first-inning homer. "The wind was really blowing in, and I thought there was no way I was going to hit a homer. I thought there's no way anybody can hit a home run today.
"We're off to a fast start. Our bats are really coming alive."
Klicker's homer off Central pitcher Emily Egger gave the Rockets a 3-1 lead after catcher Rachel Baker split the right-center gap for a double to drive in Kaitie Regnier, who led off the bottom of the first with a double.
Bella Spittler and Baker both reached base to start the third, and Klicker pulled a ball through the left side of the infield to score Spittler.
The next batter, Bannon, drove the second pitch she saw over the right-field fence for a three-run home run and a 7-1 lead. After a pitching change, De Lucia drove a Morgann Paaske offering out for back-to-back homers.
Bannon added a two-run home run in the fourth that cleared the scoreboard in right-center field.
The Rockets' hot start has the team thinking big.
"Winning [the Kishwaukee River Conference] would be pretty cool," said Bannon, who had five RBIs. "We haven't done that since I've been here, but I think we have a good shot with the hitters we have on the team. We've always had a strong-hitting team."
Junior Bailey Jones held the Tigers (5-3) to two runs on six hits in five innings, walking three. Jones missed all of last year with a shoulder injury. R-B coach Vicki Klopf liked what she saw Friday.
"Bailey did great in the circle," Klopf said. "She started over summer with the travel team. In the fall, she was a little rusty, but she's settled in nicely, and she's doing great. She's hitting her spots, she's very calm, and she's level-headed. She doesn't get frustrated easy, which is great. She's a good leader, too."
Hailey Geske went 2 for 3 and Kenna Kessler doubled for the Tigers, who have lost three straight after a 5-0 start.
"It's been a rough week, but I think we've got a lot of talent and versatility," Tigers coach Brian Strombom said. "We're still trying to find our identity defensively. It's still a work in progress."
STAR OF THE GAME
Peyton Bannon, Richmond-Burton, jr., SS
Bannon (2 for 3, five RBIs) blasted a three-run home run in the third and a two-run shot in the fourth.
16: R-B’s Bella Spittler had a 16-pitch at-bat in the third inning, fouling off 15 straight pitches, that ended in a 5-3 groundout.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Crystal Lake Central pitcher Emily Egger took a line drive off her leg in the first inning that was caught in the air by shortstop Kenna Kessler for the final out. Egger stayed in the game. “I’m sure she’ll feel it tomorrow morning, but she’s a tough kid," Tigers coach Brian Strombom said. "She wasn’t even concerned.”
Richmond-Burton 10, Crystal Lake Central 2 (5 inn.)
Crystal Lake Central 100 01 – 2 6 4
Richmond-Burton 305 20 – 10 12 1
WP: Jones (5IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 0K). LP: Egger (2IP, 6H, 7R, 6ER, 1BB, 1K).
Top hitters–CL Central: Geske 2-3 (RBI), Kessler 1-2 (2B). Richmond-Burton: Bannon 2-3 (2HR, 5RBI, 2R), Klicker 3-3 (HR, 2B, 2RBI, 3R), De Lucia 1-3 (HR, RBI, R), Regnier 2-3 (2B, SB), Spittler 2-4 (R).