Port softball team wins when it matters

Grafton exits playoffs in another 1-run hearbreaker

PORT WAHINSTON’S Tessa Egerer drove in the Pirates’ first run in a 6-5 playoff victory over Brown Deer on May 22. She had two hits in the game, including a double, an RBI and two steals. Photos by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

Port Washington’s softball team didn’t win a game this season until May 15.

But, with only two victories entering the postseason, the No. 9-seeded Pirates put enough together to win their first playoff game on the road, a 6-5 win over No. 8-seeded Brown Deer on May 22.

The team, said first-year coach Ben Navigato, was understandably thrilled.

It felt good to be undefeated in the playoffs for 24 hours, he said.

No. 1-seeded and undefeated Kewaskum ended that streak on May 23 in a no-hitter.

Against Brown Deer, the Pirates scored two runs in each of the first two innings, added one in the third and one in the seventh.

Freshman Tessa Egerer went 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and two steals.

Sophomore Sophia Poole had two doubles and a walk, and JoJo Czarnecki had a double, single and three steals.

The Falcons scored one run in the first inning and four in the fifth to get back into the game.

“It was closer than I wanted. We had some mental mistakes to let them back in the game,” Navigato said.

Emma Uselding pitched the entire game, allowing five singles, whiffing three and walking four.

“She did good,” Navigato said.

The two teams want to try to play each other during the regular season next year, Navigato said.

“It was a good game. It was evenly matched,” he said.

It wasn’t so evenly matched when the Pirates traveled to Kewaskum the following day.

Star pitcher Kennedy Lehn mowed down the Pirates, notching strikeouts on 17 of the game’s 18 outs. The Indians won, 10-0, in six innings.

“She’s tough, and they have a good team,” Navigato said.

Senior Morgan Esselman pitched for Port.

The Pirates finished the year 3-17.

“I wish I had more time with the girls,” Navigato said.

Port loses three seniors, Morgan Stone, Brianna Heinen and Maggie Noll.

“They were good leaders,” Navigato said.

He said he is optimistic about the future of the program. Uselding returns as pitcher and a strong eighth-grade class enters high school next year.

“We’ve got a lot to build on,” Navigato said.

Grafton falls by one run again

No. 5-seeded Grafton lost at No. 4-seeded Milwaukee Lutheran in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs on May 23, 6-5, in eight innings.

“It’s kind of rough. We played well enough to win,” coach Ken Hunt said.

It was the Black Hawks’ sixth one-run loss of the season. The winning run scored on a fly ball that dropped after the Hawks’ center fielder and left fielder both called for it.

Grafton was up by four runs entering the seventh.

Sara Paschke pitched 7-2/3 innings and allowed 10 hits, two earned runs, whiffing eight and walking five.

The Hawks made six errors, “probably about five too many,” Hunt said with a laugh.

Leona Meyer went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Jordyn Case went 2-for-5 and scored twice. Jenna Grandinetti went 2-for-5 with a run.

Natalie McDaniel and Josephine Gust each had a hit and RBI.

Grafton finished 3-20.

“The team is young and growing. They’ll be stronger next year,” Hunt said.

He credited his two seniors, Meyer and Graninetti, for trying to carry the team.

The Hawks lost star pitcher Kirsten Krause and backup pitcher Ellie Grisar before the season started, both to knee injuries.




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Ozaukee Press

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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Port Washington, WI 53074
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