Tough time on the diamond for Port, Grafton

Softball teams look to exit slump, stage left or right
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The last several days have been ones to forget for the Port Washington and Grafton high school softball teams.

Port lost two close games to good teams and was handily defeated by a third.

In a rematch at home against North Shore Conference-leading Cedarburg last Thursday, Port lost, 3-1, the same score as in the first game time they met this season.

Pirate ace Ashley Zygowski whiffed 11 in seven innings, while allowing two hits, three unearned runs and four walks.

Bulldog ace Paytn Monticelli whiffed 15 while allowing one unearned run, two hits and one walk.

The Bulldogs scored one run each in the first, third and fourth innings. Port got its run in the first inning.

Zygowski and Peyton Mueller-Stenz had Port’s hits.

Port came back the next day perhaps a little letdown, coach Ben Navigato said, in a 6-1 loss to Slinger.

The Pirates were missing a couple of starters in both games.

Zygowski again went the distance, whiffing two and walking two. She also had the Pirates’ only two hits.

“It was just a bad hitting day,” Navigato said. “Slinger is a solid team. You’ve got to hit the gaps. We just didn’t do it.”

On Monday, Port held a 1-0 lead heading into the seventh inning at Homestead before allowing a home run, double and walk-off single.

Zygowski whiffed 14 and walked one. She also hit her eighth home run of the season, a line drive solo shot. Hope Gilhooly had a double.

In the pivotal seventh inning, Navigato said, he and his pitching coach agreed to let Zygowski pitch to Amaya Tucker, who didn’t have a hit in the game.

“Ash had her number all day,” Navigato said. “She just missed her location a little bit, a little high and that’s what that girl likes to hit. She’s a good hitter.”

Tucker hit the ball over the left-field fence with the wind helping at least a little.

The Highlanders used the momentum to scratch out two more hits to win. On the final play, Port’s left fielder didn’t charge the ball fast enough to make it a close play at home.

Navigato wants to see his bats pick up the pace.

“We’re normally a good hitting team. We’re hitting it right to people,” he said.

Pitching is on point for Grafton

Grafton’s pitching has been solid enough to win for much of the season, but defensive lapses and a flat offense have hurt the Black Hawks.

The Hawks lost, 7-0, at Cedarburg on May 4.

Madi Johnson Hass allowed seven earned runs and 11 hits in six innings, whiffing six and walking five.

“I was really proud of how Madi Johnson Hass pitched for us. I thought it was one of her better games,” coach Mike Bergmann said.

Most of the Bulldogs’ hits, he said, were seeing-eye singles.

Cassidy Gall, the Bulldogs’ No. 2 pitcher, allowed two hits while whiffing 13 Hawks. Reese Konczal and Kaitlin Mangan each had a hit.

Last Thurdsay, the Hawks lost to Whitefish Bay, 6-1.

Senior Dani Thompson allowed seven runs (three earned) on 10 hits, whiffing seven and walking one.

The Blue Dukes scored four runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth. Grafton had five errors combined in those two innings.

“Dani pitched really well. Our defense let us down,” Bergmann said.

Grafton had four hits. Julia Marti had a hit and RBI. The Blue Dukes’ pitcher mixed speeds, which Bergmann said kept his team off balance after facing Gall the day before and Zygowski on Monday.

On Monday, the Hawks lost at West Bend East, 10-0, in a blustery five innings.

Pitchers and batters often called timeouts at the last second, Bergmann said, to wipe their eyes of dirt and wait for the wind to die down.

Johnson Hass allowed 10 runs (four earned) and eight hits while whiffing a career-high 10 and walking two.

She hit the first two batters she faced and walked the next two. She then struck out the next five.

“She really settled in and did a great job,” Bergmann said.

Most of the Suns’ hits were well placed or bloopers, he said.

Freshman Mary Weishan started in center field and had Grafton’s only two hits.

The Hawks, 1-13 in the NSC and 1-15 overall, were to host Nicolet on Tuesday, play at Slinger on Thursday, host Homestead on Monday, May 16, and finish the regular season at West Bend West on Tuesday, May 17.

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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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