Top pitcher returns to Grafton softball

2017 all-conference player Krause is back after missing last year to injury; Port Washington starts 0-4

KIRSTEN KRAUSE TOOK a swing in Grafton’s home opener against Nicolet last Friday. The Hawks won, 3-1. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Grafton High School’s softball team returns many players with varsity experience this season, including their top pitcher Kirsten Krause.

The senior is back after missing last year with a knee injury, and the Black Hawks are off to a 2-1 start.

Krause was named to the North Shore Conference’s first team in 2017 in helping lead the Hawks to their first conference title in softball. She led the NSC with a 10-0 record, was second in ERA at 0.696 and third in strikeouts with 75.

Two all-conference players from last season are back. Sophomore Sara Paschke, who was thrust into the pitching role after Krause and backup pitcher Ellie Grisar went down with knee injuries.

Paschke pitched 84-1/3 innings in the conference. She struck out 65 and walked 36 and had a 1.945 WHIP (the number of base runners allowed per inning). She had a .967 fielding percentage.

Jordyn Case, who earned all-conference honorable mention honors, is back to play center field. She hit .393 with an on-base percentage of .415. She had 24 hits, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored in league games.

This season, coach Ken Hunt shuffled his lineup a little bit. Krause will pitch to Kristyn Case at catcher, and Jordyn Case will play first base and center field.

Grisar is back healthy and will play shortstop and Josephine Gust returns to play second base, one of the only girls patrolling the same position as last year.

Abby Caputa will play third base and Jess Wagner will play first base.

Paschke joins Jordyn Case to switch off in center field. Emma Wagner will play left field and Natalie McDaniel is in right field.

Hunt said 25 girls are on the team, which is enough to field a junior varsity squad as well.

On Monday, the Hawks won their second straight conference game, 5-3, over host West Bend West.

Krause went the distance, allowing eight hits and three earned runs in seven innings while whiffing seven and walking none.

“Kirsten looks good so far,” Hunt said. “As the season goes on, she’ll get stronger and get her legs back under her.”

After the Spartans scored two runs in the fourth inning on what Hunt called a “bomb” to right field, the Hawks answered with three in the fifth.

Gust led off with a single and the next Hawk walked. Hunt had Paschke, who bats righty, turn around and slap a left-handed bunt. An overthrow to first base allowed two runs to score. Jordyn Case followed with an RBI ground out to second base.

The Hawks added one run in the sixth inning and another in the seventh. Paschke doubled and Krause doubled her in two batters later.

Last Friday, the Hawks beat Nicolet, 3-1, in their home opener.

Krause allowed one earned run and five hits in seven innings. She struck out 13 and walked one.

“Kirsten pitched really, really good that game,” Hunt said.

The Hawks scored one run in the first and second inning and took a 2-1 lead into the sixth when they got an insurance run.

Jess Wagner had two RBI batting in the No. 9 hole.

“That was really huge for us,” Hunt said.

In the seventh inning, the Knights put two runners on first and second with one out, but the Hawks got out of the jam.

The Hawks lost, 4-0, at Cedarburg, on April 3 to start the season.

McDaniel had two hits and Gust had one.

Bulldog pitcher Paytn Monticelli allowed three hits and whiffed 14 while walking four in going the distance.

“They had a surprising pitcher. In the first game out of the gates, everyone is a little bit nervous. We weren’t quite ready for it,” Hunt said.

Krause allowed eight hits and four runs while whiffing five in six innings. A few of the hits were bloops and seeing-eye singles, Hunt said.

The Hawks were scheduled to play at West Bend East on Tuesday, host Homestead on Thursday and play at Whitefish Bay on Monday. All are conference games that start at 4:30 p.m.

Port Washington is seeking its first victory of the season after four tries.

The Pirates came close on Monday, losing 11-10 at Homestead in eight innings.

The Pirates lost last Thursday to Hartford, 18-0; on April 3 at Slinger, 11-6; and on April 1 at Cedarburg, 8-1.

They were to play at Whitefish Bay on Tuesday and host Nicolet on Thursday.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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