Your Prep Sports
NORTH LIBERTY – Kinsley Robertson has spent much of what has been a strong prep career in the shadows.
A five-year varsity contributor Robertson posted a 28-35 record and 3.63 ERA in her first four seasons as the number two pitcher to ace Kara Maiers.
Even this season when Robertson has moved into the top spot in the Liberty High pitching rotation she has been largely overshadowed by the early-season offensive success for ninth-ranked Lightning.
On Tuesday evening the Liberty High offense continued to blister and Robertson continued to shine bright in her first full season on center stage.
Robertson tossed a shutout in a 5-0 win in the opener and Liberty High hammered 16 hits in a 12-8 win in game two in a sweep of Dubuque Wahlert (4-7, 2-6) in a Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division doubleheader in North Liberty.
“I like being the first pitcher and taking control on the field,” Robertson said. “I have had a chance to show what I can do the last couple of years but it’s been on the back because I’ve been the second pitcher. It’s been nice to prove myself a little bit.”
Robertson has been one of several stars for Liberty High during a 14-2 start to the season that includes an 8-0 mark in MVC play.
A Lightning lineup that ranks second in the state with 16 home runs and entered Tuesday averaging better than 9.2 runs per game continued its impressive start Tuesday hammering seven extra-base hits among its 23 hits in the doubleheader.
“It’s so much fun as a pitcher to know I have that backup behind me,” Robertson said. “I know even if I’m not pitching my best that day my team is behind me and backing me up with the hits.”
Robertson has been solid as a sidekick the past two seasons with a combined 16-14 record and a 2.92 ERA.
This season the senior right-hander has performed like an ace.
Robertson improved her season record to 6-1 and dropped her ERA to .98 with the shutout in the opener on Tuesday, striking out 10 while allowing seven hits.
“She has great command of her stuff, she has been pounding the strike zone she has worked really hard on her rise ball and that has really helped her and that’s a plus for her,” Liberty High coach Mike Morrison said. “That’s a pitch she was not using last year and she is really confident in it now and it’s added another dimension to her on the mound.”
Robertson wiggled out of a few jams on Tuesday.
She allowed back-to-back infield singles to start the fourth but struck out the next three hitters and worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth with a fly out to left and a pop up to third.
Robertson struck out the final two hitters in the sixth after a one-out double and a walk put two on with one out.
“I’ve been able to throw my rise a lot more and I’ve been a lot more efficient,” Robertson said. “That’s my go-to pitch so I think my rise has really gotten me to a different spot.”
After Robertson starred in game one it was the Liberty High offense that took over in the nightcap.
Liberty High jumped to a 7-0 lead after two innings and hammered five doubles among 16 hits in the win.
“We talked about that after the game, our job is to take care of your pitcher and make her job easier,” Morrison said. “We’ve been able to do that most times, go out and put up crooked numbers and that’s our goal is to continue to work at the plate and put pressure on people and make something happen.”
Haileigh Smith and Kennedy Daugherty each had RBI doubles during a five-run Liberty High first inning and Mischa Reiners had an RBI double in a two-run second.
Reiners was 3-for-3 with a double, a triple and scored four runs in the nightcap while Smith was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.
“It’s so fun this year because we are relaxed and just playing and picking each other up,” Smith said. “If someone makes a mistake there is someone else there to pick them up.”
Daugherty had two doubles and drove in two in the nightcap while Brynlee Slockett had two hits and scored two runs.
Dubuque Wahlert 000 000 0 – 0 7 1
Liberty High 003 200 x – 5 7 0
W – Kinsley Robertson L – Tierani Teslow
2B – ICL: Kennedy Daugherty. DW: Anna Roling
Dubuque Wahlert 000 503 0 – 8 10 0
Liberty High 520 302 x – 12 16 1
W – Kennedy Daugherty L – Anna Roling
2B – ICL: Haileigh Smith, Kennedy Daugherty (2), Mischa Reiners, Haley Schroeder. DW: Tierani Teslow, Ruth Tauber (2)
3B – ICL: Mischa Reiners