Falls' Berglund and Eikenmeyer both earn All-Suburban status
Led Indians to state semifinals
Menomonee Falls NOW All-Suburban softball selections Maddie Eikenmeyer (outfield) and Kelly Berglund (pitcher) were key parts of a surprising Greater Metro Conference/WIAA state semifinalist equation for the 19-5 Indians this spring.
They and the rest of the Indians adapted well to interim coach Nick Heiting (see separate article), took on huge leadership roles and turned in clutch performances when needed for the team.
Eikenmeyer, one of only two seniors in the starting lineup (catcher Jamie Ertl being the other), was a top-notch outfielder who delivered one big hit after another. None bigger than when she tripled and scored the only run of the game in the ninth inning in Falls' surprising 1-0 WIAA state quarterfinal win over powerful Appleton East. She was a powerful spray hitter who led the Indians in just about every offensive category including average (.549), as well as runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs and RBI.
Berglund, just a sophomore in her first year of full-time starting, turned in several gritty efforts down the stretch, including the aforementioned shutout of East in the state tournament, as well as a 2-0 blanking of Brookfield Central in the Greater Metro Conference championship. Her ERA was virtually nonexistent (1.24) and she had a strikeout to walk ratio that was close to 6-to-1, using a devastatingly effective change-up as her go-to pitch.
Infield to outfield
Eikenmeyer, who will try to help revive the newly rejuvenated Cincinnati University women's softball program next year (where she will major in psychology), only started softball in the sixth or seventh grade, working with the Falls Angels program, and for the longest time she was an infielder not making the switch to outfield until sophomore year of high school.
"I had practiced both, but I never thought of making that transition until my sophomore year," she said. "It was harder than I thought. Reading the ball, playing different hops and being so far away (from the action). I'm OK now, but it was different at first."
Eikenmeyer has a great ball-playing pedigree as her father, John, was a scholarship baseball player at the University of Southern California.
"He made my swing what it is," she said.
She's happy she ended her high school career the way she did.
"We finally figured out that we were good when we rallied and beat Arrowhead (6-5 in a late season nonconference game)," she said, "and we figured out that we were really good when we beat Central (in the conference title game)."
She said the team has an excellent future with Berglund on the mound.
"She's always working to make herself better," Eikenmeyer said of Berglund. "She's so dedicated and has such confidence in herself."
Playing career started early
Berglund appreciated the efforts of seniors such as Ertl and Eikenmeyer. She got a much earlier start in the game, starting as a 7-year-old second baseman, first trying pitching when she was 10 years old. She has played for both the Pride of the Midwest as well as the Falls Angels programs.
She started a couple of games last year as a freshman, but had to make a quick adjustment to full-time status this season. "There's a lot more pressure at this level," she said.
But as noted, she really appreciated the help of her teammates, especially Ertl.
"We were always on the same page," she said of her catcher. "I never had to shake her off. We worked well at keeping people off-balance....Jamie and Maddie were such big parts of the team, we wouldn't have been nearly as good without them."
Berglund did her part by perfecting that change-up late in the season.
"It was right around the time of the playoffs," she said. "I knew that if we were going to make a deep run in the playoffs I had to have all my pitches working. I worked very hard on that."
And as Eikenmeyer noted and Berglund confirmed, the future is bright for Falls.
"Most of the team is returning and almost all of us are playing summer ball," Berglund said. "We really boosted our program this year and we're pretty psyched for next season."
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