Craig pitcher Julia Humphrey turns it up to beat West
Julia Humphrey is a freshman, but the Janesville Craig pitcher might have went up a few notches against Madison West on Thursday.
Humphrey struck out nine and retired the final 12 batters of the game as the Cougars defeated the host Regents 5-2 in Big Eight Conference action.
“She grew up tonight,” said Craig manager Dan Bayreuther about his freshman left-hander. “We struggled a little bit in the third, but after that it was three-up and three-down.”
With fellow freshman left-hander Jenna Brandt, Bayreuther has had to be patient early in the season. But after Madison East had 17 hits against the Cougars on Tuesday, Bayreuther had a little pep talk with his pitchers and Humphrey responded.
“I told them I wanted to see more of a competitive spirit,” Bayreuther said. “Tonight I saw a little fire in her eyes. She was the story of the game.”
Craig still struggled on offense with six hits, with the highlight a final run in the seventh.
Junior Al Hughes reached for the fourth straight time with a double to open the inning. Gabby Loveland sacrificed her to third.
Wanting to get a three-run lead, Bayreuther ordered a suicide squeeze with No. 3 hitter Sydney Cramer up. Cramer delivered, and Craig had all the runs it needed.
Hughes was 3-for-4 and sophomore Kayla Kaufman was 2-for-3.
The Cougars, 4-2 in the Big Eight and 5-3 overall, play Verona on Tuesday.