The Menomonee Falls girls softball team, ranked sixth in state, got as much out of its first two weeks of the regular season as possible.
Even with the tough, 3-2, first loss of the season to 2013 state runner-up and fourth-ranked Kenosha Bradford on Friday, April 11, the Indians will still go into their spring break with a 9-1 record and resume their schedule later this month with a full head of steam.
"If you'd told me that we'd be 9-1 heading into the break, I'd be thrilled," Falls coach Lou Sanicola said. "We lost to a really good, state-ranked team, but we learned some things from that. ... We'll tighten up our defense and work on our timely hitting (over the break).
"We'll be fine."
Which is bad news for opponents. The loss to Bradford on Friday was part of a tough triangular event at Watertown, which included a 7-1 victory over the host Goslings. Falls had beaten the Goslings in the WIAA sectional final last season.
Earlier in the week, Falls downed Brookfield Central, 4-2, Thursday, April 10, in a pivotal Greater Metro Conference tilt, and had defeated Brookfield East (6-0) and West Allis Hale (11-1) in another set of GMC tilts on Monday and Tuesday, April 7 and 8, respectively.
The Indians enter the break at 4-0 in GMC play. They will resume action Saturday, April 19, at the powerful Kenosha County Invitational, which will include defending state Division 1 champ Westosha Central and Wilmot. They will play Beaver Dam in the first game.
"We'll be more than halfway through our schedule (before the end of the month)," Sanicola said.
The team likely will be short-handed Saturday due to the break, but is looking forward to the high-level competition.
In the game against Bradford, the Red Devils scored all three of their runs in the first inning and then held on for the victory. A critical Falls error to start the game opened the floodgates for Bradford. It was followed by a stolen base, a fly out and then four successive hits, including a two-run home run, which made the score 3-1 after one inning.
After that point, Falls ace Kelly Berglund settled down, throwing a one-hitter the rest of the way (seven strikeouts and no walks), but the Indians could not do enough against Red Devils star Ellie Bernero, who struck out six and walked only one.
They got one back in the fourth on an Arial Eikenmeyer RBI single, but despite having baserunners on in each of the last three innings, they could not punch home the critical tieing tally.
"We had our chances," Sanicola said. Berglund and Justine Ertl had two hits each.
Angelica Labermeier got the win over Watertown, allowing just three hits with four strikeouts. Falls scored three times in the first with still another home run from centerfielder Stephanie Cole, this time a two-run shot to left.
Cole is off to a hot start to her season with three home runs, eight RBI, two triples and a double with a .360 batting average.
And it was sophomore Cole who broke the 2-2 tie with Central on April 10 in the top of the seventh with an RBI double. She stole third and then scored herself on Robinson's single to make it 4-2.
That was enough for Berglund, who gave up two runs in the third but then shut out the Lancers the rest of the way, not allowing a hit in the final four innings. She had seven strikeouts with two walks.
Ertl also had a critical RBI and Claire Mohrfeld contributed two hits.
"The kids did a nice job rallying in the sixth and the seventh," Sanicola said. "We kept our composure and made some things happen. That was a very good pitcher we beat (the Lancers' Crystal Sicard). This was a big win. It's huge being up (in conference) this early."
Berglund scattered seven hits with five strikeouts in the 11-1 win over Hale. A five-run second gave the Indians all the cushion they needed as Labermeier had two hits, two RBIs and three runs scored while Ashley Zdroik had two hits and three runs scored and Berglund had three hits.
Labermeier had nine strikeouts and three walks and scattered six hits in the 6-0 win over East. A two-run first gave her all the support she would need. Robinson had three hits with two RBIs while Labermeier and Mohrfeld had two hits apiece.
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