By John Bohnenkamp
It is a relentless offense for the Burlington Bees to open the season.
Friday’s 14-6 win over the O’Fallon Hoots at Community Field was the sixth consecutive for the Bees (6-2), who maintained their one-game lead in the Prospect League’s West-Great River Division.
Burlington had 17 hits, but only two were for extra bases.
“Everyone took quality at-bats, did really well,” said center fielder Lincoln Riley, who had four hits and drove in three runs at the top of the lineup, boosting his season average to .400. “Just kind of carried it throughout the game.”
Every Bee had at least one hit, and Burlington ended the night with seven players in its lineup hitting .300 or better, with three hitters at .400 or better. The Bees are hitting .318 as a team.
“We’re a strong offense,” Riley said. “We’re dangerous, we’re really good. It’s early, too — we’ve got a lot of games left and I’m excited to see what we can do.”
The Bees trailed 5-3 before scoring 11 runs in their final four innings on offense.
“We kept getting baserunners, putting pressure on their defense,” Bees manager Gary McClure said. “We continually had baserunners and put pressure on. Our guys have done a great job of just putting pressure on throughout the game, and adding runs when we do get in the lead.”
“No one’s nervous when we’re down,” Riley said. “It shows what kind of players we are, how hard we can fight back. It doesn’t matter if we’re down one run or 10 runs, we’re going to play to the ninth inning.”
Riley had an RBI single in the second inning, a single in the sixth, a two-run double in the seventh, and a single in the eighth.
“That was big,” McClure said of Riley, who is going to Eastern Illinois University next season after playing at Southeastern Community College. “He got on base, drove in runs, he just had really good at-bats tonight. He made an adjustment from the other night (he was 0-for-3 in Wednesday’s win at Alton), he didn’t have a great night. But he made adjustments and hit the ball well tonight.”
Austin Simpson had three hits and scored three runs for the Bees. Reid Halfacre, at the bottom of the Bees’ lineup, scored four times.
Tom King (1-0) was the winning pitcher in relief, throwing two scoreless innings. Brady Walker (0-2) was the losing pitcher.
NOTES: Bees third baseman Mason Land, who is heading to Auburn next season, drove in three runs, all on sacrifice flies to right field in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Land went 1-for-3. “He didn’t have many at-bats to count tonight but he had some RBIs,” McClure quipped. … Bees reliever Jacob Greenan, who had given up six runs in two appearances, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out one. “It was good to see him throw strikes the way he did,” McClure said of Greenan, who plays at Western Illinois University. “He’s got an electric arm.”
UP NEXT: Burlington has a two-game weekend road trip, playing at Springfield (4-3) on Saturday and Normal (4-3) on Sunday.
Photo: Burlington Bees center fielder Lincoln Riley drives in a run in the second inning. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)