HASTINGS — Momentum is everything at this time of the season.
Want proof? Check out Guardian Angels Central Catholic, who followed up their early-inning efforts in the opening round with a fast start Wednesday night that helped them to a 10-0 shutout of Arlington in four innings at the Class C State Softball Championships.
“We talked about how important it is to get on top early, because it means everything,” coach Allen Kreikemeier said after the game. “It gets you that momentum and the kids did a great job of focusing and doing what they had to do.”
The second-seeded Bluejays hit two home runs to stake themselves to a 3-0 lead after one inning, then kept the hits coming with a 13-hit attack that advanced them to Thursday’s 4:30 p.m. semifinal matchup against top-seeded Fairbury.
“The kids were really fired up and our bats are really hot right now,” Kreikemeier said after his team improve to 27-3 with their second win of the day. “If we can keep them that hot, we’ll be tough to beat, and it was nice to see us come out and get that early lead.”
Jenna Schinstock hit a two-run homer to get the Bluejays rolling, and Aubrey Kreikemeier hit her third dinger of the day on the very next pitch from Sarah Theiler to get the Bluejays rolling.
Kate Gnad singled home Livia Hunke in the second to make it 4-0, and GACC added back-to-back three-run innings to end the game after four innings on the 10-run mercy rule.
Kreikemeier went yard again, hitting a three-run blast to left in the third, and the Bluejays finished things off by taking advantage of an Arlington error to score one run before Hunke singled to left to score the final two runs.
That was all Erin Franzluebber would need, as she threw a masterful one-hit shutout with six strikeouts and no walks, continuing her momentum after coming on in relief during GACC’s 15-7 win over Auburn to start the day.
“She really threw well and hit some great spots,” Kreikemeier siad of his junior pitcher. “She didn’t miss many pitches, and to hold (Arlington) scoreless is quite an accomplishment because they’re a good team.”
The GACC coach is looking forward to Thursday’s battle with the top-ranked Jeffs, with the winner advancing to Friday’s championship game.
“We’re getting down to where it’s all about getting ahead and grinding out a win, because everybody is good down here,” he said. “They’re hitting the ball like we are, so we’re really going to have to battle.”
GACC 10, Arlington 0
Arlington 000 0 — 0 1
GACC 313 3 — 10 13
WP: Franzluebber. LP: Theiler. 2B: Fischer. HR: A. Kreikemeier 2, Schinstock.