Softball Captures First Ever HL Regular Season Title
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay softball team captured its first Horizon League regular season title in program history as it swept Valparaiso in a Saturday doubleheader.
The Phoenix blanked the Crusaders, 5-0, in game one before taking game two, 3-1. The win improved Green Bay to 24-11 overall and 11-4 in the Horizon League, helping the Phoenix capture its first-ever conference regular season title and hosting privileges for the upcoming tournament. It also extended the Phoenix winning streak to seven games.
Green Bay will look for the series sweep tomorrow on senior day. First pitch is slated for noon.
Game One: Green Bay 5, Valparaiso 0
The Phoenix put up five runs over the final three innings and starter Ashley Nannemann (Burlington, Wis.) limited the Crusaders to just four hits while striking out six as Green Bay blanked Valparaiso, 5-0, in game one of the doubleheader.
It was a quiet first three innings, with the two teams combining for just three hits.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth when the Phoenix was finally able to dent the scoreboard. Sophomore Marissa Michalkiewicz (Appleton, Wis.) and senior Shannon Butts (Greenfield, Wis.)led off the inning with singles before freshman Allie Taylor (Waunakee, Wis.) hit into a flyout to advance Michalkiewicz to third. The next Phoenix batter at the plate struck out to put two outs on the board, but freshman Katelyn Huemmer (Sun Prairie, Wis.) and junior Miranda Spangberg (Wausau, Wis.) then connected on back-to-back RBI doubles to drive in a combined three runs and give Green Bay a 3-0 advantage.
A costly Valparaiso error in the bottom of the fifth helped to pad the Phoenix lead, 4-0. With a runner on first and two out, Shannon Butts delivered a shot to deep right field that Crusaders Kaitlyn Ranieri lost in the sun, committing the three-base error while allowing a Green Bay run to score.
Green Bay added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth with strong play as two outs showed on the scoreboard. Valpo set down the first two batters faced, but Spangberg and sophomore Kelli Hutchinson (Trevor, Wis.) delivered consecutive singles to chase Crusaders starter Taylor Weissenhofer from the circle. Mollie Lindeman entered for Valpo but walked her first batter faced and then hit senior Miranda Reinke (Milwaukee, Wis.) to drive in the lone Phoenix run of the inning.
Nannemann retired the Crusaders in order in the top of the seventh as she picked up the win (8-7) and her ninth complete game of the season. She limited Valpo to just four hits in the game and had just one walk while striking out six.
Spangberg and Shannon Butts both finished the day 2-for-3, with Spangberg driving in one run.
Game Two: Green Bay 3, Valparaiso 1
The Phoenix struck right away in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back as it picked up a 3-1 win over Valparaiso in game two of the doubleheader.
Green Bay wasted no time putting a run on the board in game two of the doubleheader, putting two on in the bottom of the first before senior Shannon Butts (Greenfield, Wis.) singled up the middle to bring in one run and put the Phoenix ahead, 1-0.
The Phoenix added one more in the bottom of the second, as sophomore Marissa Michalkiewicz (Appleton, Wis.) walked in a bases-loaded run to put the lead at 2-0.
Loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the fourth, Green Bay tacked on another run as Michalkiewicz hit into an RBI groundout to put the lead at 3-0. However, Valpo got on the board a half inning later as they loaded the bases and received a run as Tarah McShane earned a walk to cut the advantage to 3-1.
But the Phoenix held strong over the next two innings as it picked up the Saturday sweep over Valparaiso.
Freshman Heather Sanderson (Rapid River, Mich.) threw the complete-game winning effort, allowing one run on seven hits with six strikeouts and a walk to improve to 6-3 on the season.
Mohrfeld was the lone Phoenix with a multi-hit performance, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
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