It’s still rather early in the 2012 softball season, but it is already easy to see the tangible strides the Platteville varsity softball program has made in less than a year.
This past Saturday Coach Tina Davies’ Hillmen won a pair of games and received a rare championship game forfeit from East Dubuque to win the six-team Galena Invitational.
With the three victories Platteville improved its overall record to 5-2, already a 500 percent improvement from last year’s 1-18 final record.
And Platteville is doing it with primarily the exact same players that took their lumps a year ago. Davies Hillmen graduated only one regular, all-conference center fielder Jamie Udelhofen, from last year’s club but returned six starters, including all-conference third baseman Halli Austin, pitcher Megan Schlueter, outfielder Katie Klar, catcher Emily Feyen, and three bench players. Throw into the mix talented varsity newcomers Taylor Triphan and Kelsey Spensley and so far Platteville has found a winning formula.
“I am so very excited and proud of how all the girls are coming together and using that year of growth to make this a fun year,” explained coach Davies. “Having new players along with a few veterans is helping a lot. Last year we were a much younger team and some young players had pretty big shoes to fill and go up against some very tough competition. But with the gain in confidence and getting the feel of what it is like to win more than one has really motivated them even more. I continue to believe that if we all stay focused for each game we can continue to be a competitor and start showing people that Platteville softball is still alive and growing in a more positive direction.”
On Saturday the Hillmen gutted out a 4-3 victory over host Galena with timely hits and flawless defense, then defeated Freeport Aquin, 12-1, by pounding out 12 hits and stealing five bases.
After winning its three-team pool with a 2-0 record Platteville was slated to face East Dubuque (Ill.) in the championship game, but the Warriors were forced to forfeit due to a lack of players caused by the school’s Prom activities.
“For such an early start to the day, the girls came out with confidence and focus, something we didn’t have the last two games,” added Davies. “They never let up and even when things got close they still worked hard and stayed focus on getting the victory. I am hoping that all this energy and confidence continues to flow into this week as we take on two more conference teams.”
In the opener Platteville and Galena traded the lead six times before courtesy runner Courtney Edge’s steal of home in the top of the seventh inning provided the eventual game-winning run.
Junior catcher Emily Feyen reached on a one-out infield single in the top of the seventh. Edge entered as a courtesy runner and promptly stole second and third base to set up her game-winning mad dash for home.
In the bottom of the seventh Hillmen ace Megan Schlueter induced a ground out and a fly out to shortstop then ended the game with a strikeout of Galena leadoff hitter Lindsey Decker.
Schlueter (3-2) allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings to pick up her third win. She struck out seven and walked just one.
Austin went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs in the win on an RBI double in the first and a two-run triple in the third.
Against Freeport Platteville scored six runs in the first two innings and never let up.
Sophomore Sadie Holmes went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, two stolen bases and scored a pair of runs. Triphan and Spensley each went 2-for-3 with a double, and Austin went 2-for-4.
Klar added three RBI, including a two-run single that ended the game in the bottom of the sixth inning via the 10-run rule.
Sophomore Kylee Brunton (1-0) picked up the win allowing just one unearned run on one hit in six innings. She struck out five and walked just one in her first varsity start.
Last Tuesday Platteville fell to 0-2 in Southwest Wisconsin Conference play with a 7-1 loss at Prairie du Chien.
The Hillmen will return to action Thursday at Dodgeville.
(from Saturday, April 21 @ Galena)
Championship - Platteville wins by forfeit over East Dubuque (Ill.) due to prom activities
Third place - Galena 9, Eastland 5.
Pool A - Platteville 2-0, Galena 1-1, Freeport Aquin 0-2.
Pool B - East Dubuque 2-0, Eastland 1-1, Rockford 0-2.
Platteville 4, Galena 3
Platteville 102 000 1 - 4 11 0
Galena 110 010 0 - 3 6 0
Leading hitters - P: Amber Edge 2x4, Emily Feyen 2x4, Halli Austin 2x4, Taylor Triphan 2x3; G: Becker 2x4, Keefer 2x3. 2B - P: Austin; G: Bautsch. 3B - P: Austin. W - Megan Schlueter (3-2, 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB). L - Miles (7 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 SO, 1 BB).
Freeport Aquin 1
Freeport 000 010 - 1 1 3
Platteville 330 222 - 12 12 2
Leading hitters - P: Sadie Holmes 2x3, Kelsey Spensley 2x3, Halli Austin 2x4; Taylor Triphan 2x3. 2B - P: Holmes, Spensley, Amy Place, Triphan. W - Kylie Brunton (1-0, 6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 SO, 1 BB). L - Strause.
Prairie du Chien 7,
(from Tuesday, April 17 @ Prairie)
Platteville 000 000 1 - 1 6 6
Prairie du Chien 400 120 x - 7 8 2
Leading hitters - Pla: Emily Feyen 2x4, Halli Austin 2x3; PdC: Jones 2x4, Fisher 2x3. 3B - PdC: Banasik. W - Wikan (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 SO, 3 BB). L - Megan Schlueter (2-2, 7 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 1 ER, 8 SO, 2 BB).