Ray, Verona softball blank Janeville Craig
JANESVILLE--Bailey Buisker has no intentions on giving up the No. 2 spot in the Verona softball lineup.
The senior first baseman was stuck in a small slump early in the Big Eight season, but she broke out of it in a big way on Tuesday.
Buisker drilled two home runs, including a two-run shot that led to a four-run first inning, and the Wildcats shut out Janesville Craig 7-0 at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex.
“I said, ‘You know, when two-hitters slump, they move down in the order,’” Verona coach Todd Anderson said with a laugh. “But now we know the secret.
“We wanted to attack the ball, and we did that in the first inning.”
Four of Verona’s first five batters in the top of the first got hits, including three of them for extra bases.
Pitcher Emma Ray and shortstop Kori Keyes each doubled and scored following the home run, and the Cougars trailed by four before they even had a chance to bat.
The early lead also allowed Ray to settle in on the mound from the start. She mowed down 11 Craig batters and never allowed a baserunner to get to third base.
“She was the fastest pitcher we’ve seen this year,” Craig coach Dan Bayreuther said. “But again, hitting is contagious and we just haven’t had that in any game yet this year. I’m just waiting for us (to have an inning like their first inning), where they hit the ball hard and everything fell in.
“I have confidence that eventually we’re going to get there.”
Senior outfielder Kayley Hackett got the Cougars in the hit column in the second inning, and starting pitcher Jenna Brandt followed with a base knock to give Craig two on with just one out.
But the Cougars didn’t put another ball in play in the inning, and that was the closest they came to mounting an offensive rally.
“I just thought if we could get on the board (we could get something going),” Bayreuther said. “There’s a reason why they’re undefeated.”
Verona added an unearned run in the fourth, and Buisker hit her second two-run homer in the sixth.
The Wildcats are 6-0 to begin Big Eight play, while Craig fell to 3-3.
“Dan’s teams are well-coached, so any time we can come to Janesville and get a win, it’s great,” Anderson said. “We’re very happy with how we’re doing, but we also know that we can play better.”