May 25, 2017
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NOW: 53°
HI 57 / LO 50

Peaking Bradford blasts Central


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By Darren Day


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Kenosha News Correspondent

Bradford’s softball team is peaking at just the right time — the time to make a deep run in the WIAA state playoffs.

The Red Devils (17-5) won their seventh consecutive game on Wednesday with a 14-4 non-conference victory over visiting Westosha Central. The contest was halted after six innings because of the 10-run rule.

The Falcons (19-5) came into the game the sixth-ranked team in the Division-1 (according to WisSports.net) and fresh off clinching their sixth-straight Southern Lakes Conference title on Tuesday with a 4-0 win over Delavan-Darien, but it was the Red Devils who played with a purpose.

“We took advantage of our opportunities with some balls that dropped in, but we still have to make more contact in big situations,” said Bradford coach John Ruffalo.

The Red Devils’ offense was also aided by nine walks and three Central errors in piling up 14 runs.

The Falcons’ coaching staff gave senior pitching ace Alyssa Hrncar (12-2) the afternoon off to attend a banquet, and hoped No. 2 hurler Olivia Kazumura would be a strong replacement.

However, Kazumura was called for several illegal pitches in the bottom of the first inning by the umpiring crew and Central was forced to go to sophomore Becca Edwards before the frame was completed. The umpires said Kazumura was using a hop-pitch, and that resulted in balks being called.

“Olivia hasn’t had that many problems with umpires before,” said Central co-coach Tom Lampe. “We just clinched our conference and we were not going to pitch Alyssa anyway, so we had to go with Plan C.

“I thought Becca did a pretty good job against a very good-hitting Bradford team.”

Bradford senior leadoff hitter Jenna Bonofiglio walked and eventually scored on an illegal pitch call to give the Red Devils a 1-0 lead after the opening frame.

Bradford tallied an unearned run in the second inning on an Arin Bonofiglio sacrifice fly, before Central cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the third inning after a double by Sarai Roberts and a RBI single from Kira Mickelson (2 for 3).

Senior center fielder Ally Bonofiglio drove in two runs in the bottom of the third on a bloop single to left, plus she added another run-scoring hit in a three-run fourth inning to give Bradford a 7-1 advantage. Sophomore Jadynn Powell (2 for 4, 2 runs) contributed a two-run double in the fourth.

Run-scoring hits by Central’s Carrie Weis (2 for 4) and Andrea Edquist in the top of the fifth inning sliced the lead to 7-3, before Bradford took control with five runs in the bottom of the frame to pull ahead 12-3.

Ralena Barker drove in two runs with a single, while Katy Croeker and Powell also had RBI base hits in the rally for the Red Devils.

Base hits by Kazumura, Rylee Johnson and Wylie Jackson resulted in a single run in the top of the sixth inning for Central, before Bradford ended the contest with two runs in the bottom of the frame — aided by a RBI double from Sydney Strelow.

Junior Kayleigh Grasso (4-1) went the distance on the mound for Bradford, scattering 11 hits with one strikeout and one walk.

“We have three pitchers that are all pretty equal, and I thought Kayleigh did a nice job against of one the top lineups in the state,” said Ruffolo. “We played pretty well defensively, and since we have pitch-to-contact pitchers, we have to be strong in the field if we want to be successful.”

Ruffolo hopes his team can continue its solid play in their final two regular season games before the state playoffs begin next week.

“We want to finish our conference strong (today) against a good Racine Case (9-9), and then we finish with Wilmot (15-4) on Saturday and they are really outstanding,” he said.

Central will host Oconomowoc (5-13) in its regular-season non-conference finale on Friday.

“Wrapping up our conference on Tuesday might have had something to do with our play (against Bradford), but give Bradford credit, they played well and we did not,” said Lampe. “We have to shore some things up before the start of the playoffs.”


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