Redbirds Open Play in Curaçao with Two Wins
Taylor Baxter
Taylor Baxter

Nov. 18, 2012

Trip Home Page | Day Two Photo Gallery | Listen Live Monday

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao - The Illinois State softball team defeated Soto CMTC, 13-0, and Pichingolo Nissan, 4-1, during their first two games of eight against teams from Curaçao during its weeklong foreign tour. The games took place at Sabana Ball Park, which featured a festive atmosphere of bongo music and welcoming Curaçaoan fans.

"With this being my fourth international tour, every place that we have been has been very unique," head coach Melinda Fischer said. "This is a festive atmosphere. The crowd has a good time, but they are very respectful to the game. Additionally, it was great to get back out in game competition."

Julius O. Hellburg, Secretary General of the Curaçao Softball Association, officially welcomed the Redbirds before their second game against Pichingolo, who has won the island's softball championship 33-straight seasons. Hellburg mentioned his personal and the island's connection to the Bloomington-Normal community, as he served in an umpire in the 1990 ISF World Championships, which were hosted in Normal. Curaçao's national team also competed in that event.

"It was very special to get a welcome, particularly from someone who has fond memories of our community," Fischer said.

ISU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second game by scoring a single tally in each of its first two at bats, but the hosts responded with a run in the bottom half of the second. However, the Redbirds added two more runs in the third, thanks to a sacrifice fly from Laura Canopy and a RBI double from Stephanie Gallant, and held on to the 4-1 lead throughout the remainder of the contest.

"Pichingolo is going to be as close to a national team as they would have had represented in that past tournament," Fischer said. "You have a wide variety of ages in that group."

Pichingolo's pitcher, Roseline Kinburn, participated in the aforementioned 1990 tournament.

"I thought she did a great job," Fischer said of Kinburn. "She got stronger as the game went and mixed her pitches together well. I also thought we made some great defensive plays to take them out of some potential run-scoring situations."

Taylor Baxter went the distance for the Redbirds in the circle, allowing one run on five hits. She struck out seven, while walking two.

After Lauren Kellar and Canopy scored in the first inning of game one to put the Redbirds on top, ISU busted the game open with an eight-run second inning. After Soto recorded the first two outs of the inning, 10-straight Redbirds reached base, with Kara Repp, Kellar, Jhavon Hamilton, Canopy, Elizabeth Kay, Brittny Drish, Kelsey Turczyn and Molly Cull all scoring in the inning.

Hamilton tacked on an additional run in the third with a home run to right field, while Repp and Kellar each scored again in the fourth to give the Redbirds the 13-0 lead. The game was called after four innings of play.

Regan Romshek started in the circle for the Redbirds and tossed 3.0 hitless innings, walking only one while striking out seven. Erin Rodriguez pitched the fourth and allowed two base runners, but kept Soto scoreless.

Every starting position player reached base at least once, with Hamilton's two doubles and one home run leading the way. Repp also singled in all three of her at bats.

"We saw some things from the first game that we had been working on emphasizing that we succeeded in transferring from practice to a game setting, but I thought there were a couple of things we still need improvement on," Fischer said. "We will work on those tomorrow in practice."

The Redbirds will play two more games on Monday, before having an off day Tuesday. Monday's contests will be at 5 p.m., and 7 p.m., CST. The audio will also be streamed on the WJBC/COUNTRY Financial Illinois State Radio Network.

GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.