Craig softball puts end to Parker's season
JANESVILLE Kaylee Rossing watched one pitch sail right through the middle of the strike zone early in Tuesday's softball game against Janesville Parker.
The Janesville Craig junior wasn't about to do it again. The Cougars third baseman hammered a double to the right-center field wall, driving in a pair of runs in a critical seven-run fifth inning.
Craig went on to win the WIAA regional semifinal 11-1 in six innings, advancing to Thursday's regional final at Union Grove. Parker's season came to an end.
"I had a strike called early on what I thought was inside and then another that was right down the middle," said Rossing, who fouled out and grounded out in her first two at-bats. "I was like, 'Next time I'm up at bat, I'm going to get it.'"
The bats of both teams had been rather quiet up until that point.
The Cougars plated two runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to RBI singles from Leigh Grall and Sarah Holford.
Parker cut its deficit in half in the top of the third when Andrea Roeber singled home McKena Myszewski. The Vikings stranded a pair of runners in both the third and fourth innings and one in the fifth, leading up to Craig's surge.
Kayley Hackett, Kylie Clark and Ali Hughes smacked three consecutive one-out singles, and Grall reached on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt. Sydney Cramer hit a sacrifice fly to plate the third run of the inning and reached base when the ball was dropped. Holford followed with another single to set up Rossing's double.
Craig sent 11 hitters to the plate and took a 9-1 lead.
"(Parker pitcher Erin) Muehlenkamp really pitched well early on and had our number, but in the fifth inning I thought we executed perfectly," Craig coach Dan Bayreuther said. "Our strength has been when we can get a bunt down and run bases and take an extra one. That was just a fun inning to watch."
Craig added a pair of runs to end the game in the sixth.
Sophomore Gabby Loveland pitched a complete game for the Cougars, striking out two and walking three.
Her defense gave her a lift, as Hughes, the shortstop, started a first-inning double play and later dove to her left on a groundball, flipping it in one motion to Clark at second base for an out. And Molly Osiecki made a diving catch in left field to end the sixth inning.
"Usually when we're on the losing side of the games, that's what it comes down to, one rough inning," Parker coach Jenni Seisser said. "I don't think our girls should walk off the field with their heads hanging. The hits just didn't fall today, and for Craig they did."
CRAIG 11, PARKER 1 (6)
Parker 001 000—1 6 3
Craig 200 072—11 11 0
E. Muehlenkamp and Coles; Loveland and Holford.
Leading hitters—Coles (JP), 2x2; Grall (JC), 2x3; Holford (JC), 2x4; Hackett (JC), 2x3. 2B—Cramer (JC), Rossing (JC).
SO—E. Muehlenkamp 1, Loveland 2. BB—E. Muehlenkamp 1, Loveland 3.