First victory becomes contagious for Pirates

After cracking win column in wild game, Port softball team turns trick again against Grafton

A CLOSE PLAY at second base appeared likely as Grafton infielder Jenna Grandinetti waited for the ball and Port Washington’s Samantha Martin to arrive at the same time in a North Shore Conference game May 16. Port rallied to pull out a 15-12 win in nine innings. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Port Washington’s softball team finally got rid of a goose egg in the win column last week, and the Pirates liked it so much they doubled their total two days later.

On May 15, sophomore Morgan Stone smacked a base hit to left-center field in the eighth inning to score the winning run against West Bend West.

Port prevailed, 14-13, in a wild contest.

“We snuck one out on them. That was our senior night, too, so that was a big win for us,” Pirates coach Ben Navigato said.

“The girls were real happy. There were a lot of tears. It was a good day.

“I even had a tear in my eye. I was happy for them.”

Stone finished 3-for-6 with a three-run home run that cleared the fence.

 Also for Port, Jaymie Neitzler went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a double, and Morgan Esselman was 3-for-6 with two RBI and a double.

Port took a 9-5 lead through three innings before West put up eight runs in the fourth.

Port scored one run each in the fourth and fifth innings and two runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game.

“They just never gave up. We had a couple of base hits here and there,” Navigato said. “We had them running. I had them stealing, doing a couple of hit and runs.”

After dropping a 7-3 decision to Nicolet the following day, Port knocked off its rival Grafton, 15-12, in nine innings May 17.

“Grafton was a battle. We started off really bad. The girls just didn’t look like they had it,” Navigato said.

The Black Hawks had it going early, taking a 10-2 lead through four innings. Just a couple of scores from winning via the 10-run mercy rule, Grafton’s bats went quiet and Port stormed back.

Navigato said he let his players “have it” in between innings, and the stern lecture apparently worked. The Pirates scored seven runs in the fifth inning and evened the score with three more in the seventh.

Tessa Egerer hit a two-out double to tie the game.

In the ninth inning, it was Egerer again with a base hit that put Port ahead.

Grafton committed seven errors to help the Pirates’ cause.

“The team doesn’t know quite how to win yet,” Grafton coach Ken Hunt said.

“We hit early and didn’t know how to keep our foot on the gas pedal

In that pivotal fifth inning, Hunt said “you could see the girls play a little tighter. They were playing not to screw up instead of to win.”

Port’s Emma Uselding went the distance for the victory.

“She pitched another fantastic game. Our defense kind of let her down in the beginning there,” Navigato said.

“I’m so proud of Emma. She fights through these.”

Grafton’s Sara Paschke went the distance, allowing 16 hits, seven earned runs, whiffing a season-high 12 and walking three.

At the plate, Jess Wagner went 3-for-4 with a double and 4 RBI for Grafton. Among her teammates, Jordyn Case went 3-for-5 with a double, Kirstyn Case was 3-for-6 and Leona Meyer was 2-for-4.

On May 16, Grafton played what Hunt called its most complete game of the season in a 5-0 win over Homestead.

Paschke took a no-hitter into the sixth. She allowed one hit, whiffed seven and walked two.

“She probably had her best stuff going that game. She was able to keep the batters off balance. She could really hit her spots that game,” Hunt said.

And it was the first game of the season that Grafton didn’t make an error.

Jordyn Case went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Kirstyn Case was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

On May 15, Grafton was bounced by conference-leading Slinger, 21-1. Last Friday, the Hawks lost to Oak Creek, 15-3.

This week, the Hawks were scheduled to play at Milwaukee Lutheran in the first round of the WIAA playoffs Wednesday.

Port was scheduled to play at Brown Deer in the playoffs Tuesday.

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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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