Menomonee Falls softball team defends Greater Metro Conference title
Team enters WIAA tourney as third seed
The Menomonee Falls girls softball team remembered the two home runs that Brookfield Central catcher Carly Sobrilsky hit against them in their late April 3-2 loss to the Lancers.
So on Saturday morning in the teams' Greater Metro Conference championship showdown at Willowood, the Indians were determined not to let the senior all-world player get in their heads again.
And they didn't.
Indians sophomore pitcher Kelly Berglund and her defense held Sobrilsky hitless and junior shortstop Claire Mohrfeld bashed a huge insurance run of a homer to left in the fifth as Falls successfully defended its GMC title with a 2-0 victory.
"She singlehandedly beat us the last time," said Indians interim coach Nick Heiting of Sobrilsky. "To get her to go 0 for three was just huge. We just played her well today.
"But that's just the way Kelly and this defense has rolled this year. They are our biggest strengths and when the pressure is on, they find a way to respond."
With the win, the Indians finished at 12-2 in the GMC and 14-4 overall while the Lancers fell to 11-3 and 14-5, respectively.
Not getting the hits
"It was one of those games," said Lancers coach Doug Lange. "Everything that we hit found a glove. We pitched (freshman Crystal Sicard) extremely well, but they just took the bats out of our hands.
"We had runners on base, we just couldn't get a clutch hit and that's the key in games like this."
That it was, as the Lancers did have their opportunities. They got runners to second in the second, third and fourth innings and had a runner on third with two out in the fifth, but each time Berglund (five strikeouts and one walk) got the needed out.
"I knew that if I could throw strikes that my defense would be behind me," she said.
Falls had only two errors in the game, both in the third, but a groundout to second ended that Central threat.
Meanwhile, the Indians took advantage of a Lancers miscue to take the lead for good in the third.
With two out, Mohrfeld hit a long fly ball to centerfield. It appeared that Lancers centerfielder had a bead on it, but the ball popped out of her glove and Mohrfeld wound up on third with a three-base error.
"I never give up on a play," said Mohrfeld "I always keep running."
Offense pulls through
And junior outfielder Maddie Eikenmeyer made Mohrfeld's hustle worth her while by ripping an RBI single right through the middle for a 1-0 lead.
"We had talked about scoring the first run of the game and putting pressure on them," said Heiting. "Getting that run was just huge."
Central got its leadoff hitter on in each of the next two innings, but two pop-ups and a strikeout ended the threat in the fourth and then consecutive groundouts did the job in the fifth.
Then in the bottom of the fifth, Mohrfeld let Heiting breath a little more easily as she roped a long shot to left that got past the Lancers defense. Mohrfeld easily circled the bases for a home run.
"That run put us over the top; that really calmed me down," said Heiting.
And the Indians responded confidently, as starting with those three groundouts in the fifth, Berglund put down the last nine Lancers in a row.
"We had a runner on third (in the fifth), but we couldn't get her home," said Lange. "It was a game we could have finished, but we didn't quite get there."
Sicard finished with eight strikeouts and zero walks and Sobrilsky did make a brilliant play in the fourth, catching a failed bunt in mid-air and then whipping a strike to first base to catch a dangling runner off the bag for a double play.
Feeling the pressure
Mohrfeld noted that the Indians had a little more pressure on them than they wanted after an early week loss to DSHA dropped them into the tie with Central heading into this game.
"But that just made us big time motivated," she said. "If anything it made us more confident coming into today."
Heiting said it was important that the Indians picked up an emotional walk-off win over nonconference opponent Arrowhead after the DSHA loss.
"That brought our spirits back to the right side," he said.
Mohrfeld also noted that the conference title is a major reward for the miserable wet, cold spring that featured so many rainouts and re-scheduled games.
"It was hard at times practicing so often inside the gym," she said. "So we're going to extend this season (in the WIAA tourney) as long as we can."
Her coach agreed.
"It was very sweet to get this (the league title)," he said. "It'll really help us moving forward. We've got some momentum now and we believe we can compete with anybody."
Falls will host Milwaukee Hamilton in a WIAA regional semifinal May 21 while Central will get a first round bye into the regional final May 25.
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