The Class A No. 5-rated Grand Island Senior High softball team ended both games of its home-opening doubleheader against Lincoln Northeast with exclamation marks.
Sophomore Melissa Cuellar and junior Betsy Foltz each hit a 3-run home run to end 14-0 and 14-1 three-inning games at the Veterans’ Field Softball Complex.
The Islanders (9-2) outhit the Rockets 24-3 over the six innings.
“This was our first complete games out of the whole year,” Grand Island coach K.C. Hehnke said. “We came out very, very aggressive and took it to them. Both our pitchers have pitched very well this year, but Lindsey Telecky was five miles an hour faster today than she’s been all year.”
Telecky struck out six of the 12 batters she faced in the opener. She added two more strikeouts in two innings of the second game before Jessica Kleine took over.
“I thought Jess Kleine came out and pitched well,” Hehnke said. “She was a little bit disappointed about not getting the start, but we’re sitting there thinking we need to throw Lindsey a little bit more because she’d only thrown 36 pitches in the first game. We wanted to come out and get her two more innings in.
“Our pitching dominated them. Our hitting pretty much did too.”
Big innings led to the routs. The Rockets (2-10) only trailed 2-0 entering the third inning of the opener, but Grand Island sent 14 batters to the plate in that frame.
“It’s nice to see big innings, but the good thing was the baserunning,” Hehnke said. “We had a couple runners stop on (potential) interference plays. That’s a big difference later in tight games.
“We hit the ball extremely well. (Northeast pitcher Sydney Fisher) has done pretty decent against everybody else. They’re young, but I think we took them out of their game plan early.”
The Islanders had nine hits while generating 12 runs in the third inning.
Abby Cline hit a bases-clearing triple, Allie Richardson had a two-run double, and Cuellar ended the game by the mercy rule with her three-run shot over the fence in left field.
Cuellar went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in the opener and is batting close to .700 for the season.
A pair of six-run innings helped the Islanders end things early in the second game, with Foltz ending it with her three-run homer to left centerfield.
“Melissa Cuellar hit a bomb, and Betsy Foltz had been struggling a bit, so it was good to see her go opposite field to end a game too,” Hehnke said. “They can both hit the ball hard.”
The Islanders face tougher tests this Saturday at the Millard North Tournament.
“This weekend is going to be good for us,” Hehnke said. “We’ve got Bellevue West, who is really solid. Then we have either Millard North or Lincoln Pius. It’ll tell us where we’re at.”
Lincoln Northeast ..................... 000—0 1 1
Grand Island ............................. 20(12)—14 12 1
WP—Telecky. LP—Fisher. 2B—GI, Cline, A. Richardson, Kleine. HR—GI, Cuellar.
Lincoln NE (2-10) ..................... 001—1 2 3
Grand Island (9-2) ................... 266—14 12 1
WP—Telecky. LP—Fisher. 2B—LNE, Klingenberg. GI, Kleine. 3B—GI, Telecky. HR—GI, Foltz.