Battles with Homestead, Central leave Grafton with pair of rough softball losses
The weekend was no friend to the Grafton High School softball team.
After winning their first three games last week, the Black Hawks were handed a pair of close losses Saturday.
Grafton was edged by Homestead, 3-2, in a North Shore Conference makeup game before falling to Brookfield Central, 4-1, in nonconference play.
The Homestead tussle was especially tough because it dropped the Hawks to 5-3 in NSC play and seriously damaged their title hopes.
“It was a rough day. We were a little short-handed,” Grafton coach Ken Hunt said.
“The loss to Homestead kind of put the conference (title) out of reach for us.”
Besides missing starter Lauren Lennon because of an injury, the Hawks were without pitcher Amanda Hunt for several innings due to college testing.
Homestead (5-2) jumped ahead by scoring twice in the top of the fourth inning, but Grafton answered with two runs of its own in the same frame.
After Katie Hunt walked to start the rally, Emmy Kabitzke singled to move the runner to third base. Taylor Thiede’s groundout scored a run, and Amanda Hunt followed with an RBI single.
Homestead regained the lead in the sixth with a leadoff triple and a two-out fielding error.
In the bottom of the seventh, Grafton’s Kate Lennon reached on an error, stole second and moved to third on a groundout. However, Homestead pitcher Carly Schulz retired the next batter to preserve a complete-game win.
Grafton fell to Central in a game originally scheduled to be part of the Black Hawk Invitational. The tournament was cancelled to free Saturday for the Homestead game.
Central grabbed a quick lead by scoring three unearned runs in the first inning.
Struggling offensively throughout the game, the Hawks got their lone run in the fourth.
After Sarah Fischer doubled, Samm Maglio walked and Amanda Hunt hit an RBI double. However, the Lancers turned a line drive into a double play to escape further damage.
“Central played pretty solid defense,” coach Hunt said. “We also had 12 strikeouts and only two hits, so we didn’t do much at the plate.”
Amanda Hunt took the loss despite allowing only five hits and no earned runs in five innings of work. She struck out four and walked two.
Crystal Sicard got the win. In five innings, she gave up two hits, struck out seven and walked one.
Grafton 7, Nicolet 0
The Hawks scored two runs in each of the first three innings in a conference home win May 2.
Amanda Hunt got the offense started with a two-run single in the opening frame. She also pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits, striking out six and walking one.
Fischer went 2-for-3 with two doubles, and Katie Hunt was 2-for-4.
Grafton 9, Milwaukee Lutheran 2
A 2-0 deficit wasn’t enough to stop the host Hawks in an NSC game May 1.
After failing to score in the first three innings, Grafton broke through for a run in the fourth and scored three times in the fifth and five times in the sixth.
Kabitzke pitched a five-hit, complete game. She struck out five and walked three.
Amanda Hunt led the Hawks at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort and two RBI. Maglio was 2-for-3.
Grafton 5, Homestead 1 (9 inn.)
A pitchers’ duel went to the Hawks on April 30, when they rallied to pull out a league road win.
The game was scoreless until the eighth, when Grafton broke through for a run. Fischer walked, reached third on a single by Thiede and came home on Amanda Hunt’s sacrifice fly.
Homestead forced another inning with a two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth. Meggi Lampen singled and raced all the way around to score on a fielding error but broke her ankle on a play at the plate.
After an injury delay, Grafton exploded for four runs in the ninth. The Hawks didn’t have a hit during the rally but were aided by two hit batters, two passed balls and an error.
Amanda Hunt struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to wrap up a complete-game win. She allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked four.
Schulz took the loss. In eight-plus innings, she allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked four.
“It was a long pitchers’ duel,” coach Hunt said. “Both teams had opportunities to score early, but good defense prevented any runs until the eighth.”
Grafton continued conference play this week.
After facing Cedarburg on Monday (see related story) and Whitefish Bay on Tuesday, the Hawks were scheduled to host Germantown in a 4:30 p.m. makeup game Wednesday.
Grafton will conclude its NSC schedule with 4:30 p.m. games at Milwaukee Lutheran on Thursday and Cedarburg on Friday and at home May 13 against Port Washington.
GRAFTON’S TAYLOR THIEDE kept her eyes on the ball as she connected with a pitch in a softball game against Homestead last Saturday. Homestead rallied to defeat the host Black Hawks, 3-2. Photo by Sam Arendt