Dominant pitching, hitting carries Illinois District 17 softball squad into Central Regional semifinals

Little League softball

BYRON CENTER, Mich. — Two games into the Senior League Softball Central Regional, the Illinois District 17 all-stars have created quite a debate.

Which will the Land of Lincolners finish the tournament with more of — runs, hits or strikeouts?

Right now,they’re piling up all three..

Tuesday’s 14-0 victory over Michigan District 2 featured Springfield’s Mia Volpert racking up 11 strikeouts over six innings while the offense pounded out 10 hits, including five extra-base hits with three triples. In the two victories combined, the offense has produced 24 runs and 20 hits while the pitching staff has 24 strikeouts.

It has positioned Illinois District 17 to play at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the winner’s bracket semifinals. The first championship game in the double-elimination tournament is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The region champion advances to the Senior League World Series, which begins July 31 in Roxana, Del.

Against Michigan District 2, Illinois got rolling with two runs in each of the first two innings. Rushville’s Italee Ford tripled with one out in the first and scored on a double by Quincy Notre Dame’s Caitlin Bunte. Bunte scored on a sacrifice by Macomb’s Kylie Robinson.

In the second, Pleasant Plains’ Aspen Kitwoski singled with one out and Havana’s Kaydi Miller followed with a walk. Kitowski went to second on a wild pitch and stole third with Miller at-bat, and Miller went to second on defensive indifference. Both runners then scored on a passed ball.

An error and a passed ball led to a run in the fourth, while a double and a one-out error led to a run in the fifth. Volpert’s triple and Kitowski’s groundout produced two more runs. A six-run sixth inning finished things off.

Ford went 3 for 3, while Volpert went 2 for 2 with two RBIs and Kitowski went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Volpert allowed just one hit, walked one and retired the first 10 batters she faced.

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