Seniors are rocks upon which program was built
Two players selected to All-Suburban team
Menomonee Falls — In four years, things have come full circle for Menomonee Falls NOW Newspapers All-Suburban softball selections Beth Nitz and Morgan McCoy.
In 2006, Nitz was as brand new to the high-powered Indians program as a freshman could be. She was not only making her way in a new community after her family moved from Marshall, Wis., during the summer after she finished eighth grade, but she was also backing up Falls all-star pitcher Heather Vogel.
"We really didn't know what we had with Beth," Indians coach Wendy Wolff said.
But when Vogel (who would go on to make All-Suburban in 2007) was temporarily knocked out by an injury that season, it was Nitz's chance to make an impression.
And she did.
"She stepped in there and did a fantastic job," Wolff said.
Meanwhile, in the outfield, the two-time All-Suburban selection McCoy forged her own place in the Indians athletic firmament.
"We've always had a lot of confidence in Morgan," Wolff said. "It was a comforting feeling knowing that she'd get the job done. And this year, she was the only returnee in the outfield, and she did a great job with freshman (starter) Rachel (Defnet) helping her find her way on varsity."
Thus, in their own way, the pair helped continue the success story that is the Falls softball program, which not only repeated as Greater Metro Conference champions but also earned its first WIAA state tournament berth since 2003.
It's a program made up of strong talent and of strong-minded people. Nitz and McCoy fall into that category. Nitz has always been a pitcher from the moment she started playing ball when she was 2 years old, but it hasn't always been easy.
"When I was about 10, things just weren't right (pitching)," she said, "and my Dad asked me if I wanted to keep doing it and I said 'Absolutely.' "
That degree of heart showed up big-time again this spring. Wolff is famous for saying "that there are a lot of good pitchers from the neck down but only a few great ones from the neck up." She puts Nitz in the latter category.
"I know I'm not the tallest or strongest of girls," Nitz said, "so I've worked very hard on the mental aspect of the game. Just wanting it badly and putting a lot of heart into things."
She thanks veteran catcher Bonnie Kowalczyk, who was one of the first people she met after arriving in the Falls, for creating a "great bond" between the pair.
Nitz also said that Wolff is a primary reason why she will be playing ball next year at Viterbo in La Crosse.
"She can tweak the little things I'm doing wrong so quickly," Nitz said.
Meanwhile, this is the end of the athletic line for McCoy, who was also a setter on the Indians GMC championship girls volleyball team. She will be close to Nitz this fall at UW-La Crosse, entering the physician's assistant program there.
She is grateful for her time at the Falls, and will never forget that sublime most recent early June day, when the Indians exorcised a lot of demons and defeated Homestead in the sectional final for a WIAA state tournament berth.
"Doing that has always been such a passion of ours," McCoy said. "It was the greatest game of my life. Bonnie (Kowalczyk) and I kept looking at each other and saying to each other 'We can't believe this is really happening.'
"I still love this game. I always will."
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