HOOPESTON — The role of a leadoff hitter is to set the table.
The more times they get on base, the more opportunities the batters in the middle of the lineup have at driving home runs.
Bismarck-Henning's Brittney Ribbe fills that role perfectly for the Blue Devils. On Tuesday night, Ribbe drew two walks and lined a double down the left-field line as she led off the first, second and third innings. All three times, she came around to score as Bismarck-Henning rolled past the Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers 12-2 in five innings.
"I like leading off because it starts off the inning,'' Ribbe said. "I feel like when I get it started, everyone else on the team follows off of me and what I did at the plate.''
Ribbe has been the leadoff hitter at Bismarck-Henning ever since she joined the Blue Devil program.
"That's because she is a great leadoff hitter,'' Bismarck-Henning coach Mike Stephens said. "She is very patient at the plate and she will take a walk. She is also a very confident hitter with two strikes, so she can work the count. She can also hit the ball hard, and once she gets on base, she really has some great wheels.''
All of those attributes add up to a perfect leadoff batter, and Ribbe's favorite part of her role is getting the stolen base.
In Tuesday's game, she drew a leadoff walk from Hoopeston Area's Rylee Martin. On the first pitch to Bismarck-Henning's Lindsey Andrews, Ribbe stole second. Two pitches later, she cruised into third with a stolen base and when the throw from Hoopeston Area catcher Madie Cline got away, Ribbe had given the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead without the benefit of a single hit.