Written by STEVE OSTERMANN
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:58
Being drafted by Milwaukee is payoff for Grafton pitcher who overcame shoulder injury
Conor Fisk was watching the Major League Baseball draft on-line last week and couldn’t believe his eyes.
Although the Grafton High School pitcher had high hopes of being chosen by a big-league club, he never thought it would be his favorite team.
The Milwaukee Brewers put a smile on the senior’s face by selecting him in the 34th round on June 9.
“My name came up, and my mouth just dropped,” said Fisk, who received close looks from several Major League clubs for his play on a fall Midwest scout team and at talent showcases.
“I knew I would get drafted, but I didn’t where or when, and I didn’t think it would be the Brewers. It’s great.”
Fisk, a hard-throwing right-hander, has his sights set on a Major League career — a tough challenge for even the highest-profile high school players. But he had to overcome a serious injury to even be considered draft worthy.
In December 2008, he hurt his left shoulder playing in a high school hockey game. The injury, diagnosed as a torn labrum, sidelined him for several months for treatment and rehabilitation.
After being missing most the 2009 high-school baseball season, Fisk came back strong. He caught the eye of Andy Stack, a
Cincinnati Reds scout, and was chosen for the Reds Midwest Scout Team last fall.
Fisk established himself as a top arm on a squad that played in several states, including Illinois, Iowa and Florida. Baseball America
Magazine projected him as the No. 1 Wisconsin high school player in the draft.
“I was in the best shape of my life before the injury, so I knew I could get back,” Fisk said. “I was ticked off that it happened, but it made me more determined than ever to succeed.”
The son of Kevin and Marianne Fisk, he has gotten stronger and expanded his pitching repertoire, the strengths of which are a 90-mph fastball and sharp curve.
This spring, Fisk quickly re-established himself as the ace of a rejuvenated Grafton High baseball team.
He threw a five-inning perfect game against Brown Deer on May 29 and a one-hitter against Cedarburg on June 4. Through last week, he had a 5-0 record with a 0.38 earned-run average.
In his first 37 innings, Fisk struck out 64 batters and walked only six. Opponents were hitting .126 against him.
“Conor has been tremendous,” Grafton coach Brian Durst said.
“He’s earned everything he’s gotten. He’s really dedicated himself to becoming a big-league player and has the support of all his teammates.
“He’s the best pitcher we’ve ever had here. I can’t say enough about him.”
Although Fisk has been in contact with the Brewers, he’s undecided about his immediate future. If he doesn’t sign with the club by the Aug. 15 deadline, he plans to play baseball at Wabash Valley, a junior college in Mount Carmel, Ill.
“Right now, I can’t say what I will do,” Fisk said. “It really depends on what the Brewers do.”
But with his foot in the door for a shot at professional baseball, Fisk is focused on enjoying the rest of his high school career.
After going 4-23 last year, the Black Hawks have gotten off to an 8-3 start this season and are the surprise of the North Shore Conference.
“It’s really been a lot of fun,” Fisk said. “We’ve got good chemistry and are playing well after having some rough years.”
Fisk said he and his teammates are more determined than ever to succeed since losing teammate Matt Malkowski, who died in April after being injured in a car accident.
“We really want to win for him and his family,” Fisk said. “That’s what we think about when we go out there.”
Written by STEVE OSTERMANN
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:48
Grafton soccer team uses familiar formula to secure spot in WIAA state tournament for 3rd straight season
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a math whiz to calculate the keys to success in soccer.
Play heads-up defense, apply steady offensive pressure and convert your scoring chances, and you’ll be chalking up victories.
The Grafton Black Hawks continued to blend all the right ingredients last Saturday night when they blew past Seymour, 4-0, to win a WIAA Division 2 sectional title and earn their third straight trip to the state tournament.
“Things have come together very well,” said Grafton coach Don Arnold, whose team posted its seventh straight shutout and improved to 19-5-2.
“It‘s not just the ability part, but it’s all about chemistry, playing together as a team. That’s what the girls are doing so well.”
The Hawks will face Madison Edgewood in a state semifinal game at noon Friday at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.
As the defending Division 2 state champion, Edgewood will present a tough challenge, but Grafton has certainly primed itself for the next level.
Scoring two goals in each half, the host Hawks overpowered a talented Seymour squad that brought a 20-2-2 record into the sectional final.
After Tess Safstrom put Grafton on the board with a goal in the sixth minute with an assist from Alyssa Arnold, the margin grew to 2-0 in the 35th minute. Hannah Eichler did the honors with a solo effort.
A two-goal flurry in a two-minute span of the second half delivered the knockout punch.
Eichler, a sophomore forward, struck again with a goal, assisted by Hannah Knauer, at 55:04. Arnold capped the scoring with an
assist from Emma Fatla at 56:57.
“Part of our defense is that explosive offense, which keeps the other team on its heels,” coach Arnold said. “When they have to stay back because we’re on the attack, they can’t take too many chances against us.”
When opponents have stepped up their own attacks, Grafton continues to be equal to the challenge defensively. Seymour was outshot, 20-5, with all five of its attempts saved by keeper Alyssa Viste.
“After Tess got that first goal for us, I think the girls got real comfortable playing,” Arnold said. “We got the nerves out and relaxed and just focused on what we had to do.”
Arnold expects more of the same from his team in the state semifinals.
“Most of our players have been there before and know what to expect,” he said. “There will be butterflies, but if we go out there and play our game, we’ll be all right.”
With Saturday’s win, the Hawks have outscored their last seven foes, 30-0.
Grafton 2, Sheboygan Falls 0
Shaking off a slow start, the host Hawks regrouped for a sectional semifinal win June 10.
The first half nearly ended in a scoreless deadlock. However, Carley Pfannerstill gave Grafton the only goal it needed when she scored in the 37th minute with an assist from Maddy Huibregtse.
Fatla added an insurance goal in the 50th minute, assisted by Molly McElligott.
“We came our very tight in this game and couldn’t get on track right away,” coach Arnold said.
The Hawks held an 18-3 edge in shots.
Falls ended the season 19-4-1.
ANGIE MANN (left) jostled with a Sheboygan Falls player during Grafton’s 2-0 win in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal game June 10. Photo by Sam Arendt