Janesville Craig High School softball secret to winning
Dan Bayreuther breaks down how his Janesville Craig High School softball team can have a successful season.
“We’ve got to have people on base when with Cassady at the plate,” Bayreuther said.
That would be Gabrielle Cassady. Cassady is a threat both at the plate and behind it, where she has been a starter at catcher for the past three seasons.
The Cougars were 14-10 last season, and several key players return.
However, Cassady—who will play collegiate softball for UW-Green Bay—is that main threat.
She was second on the team with a .351 batting average, and was the Cougars’ main power source. Cassady had two homers, three triples and seven doubles among her 27 hits, and led the team with 20 RBIs.
“Last year she was a very good hitter,” Bayreuther said. “But she was a streaky hitter. I think, this year, she is going to be a solid hitter.”
One hitter who will likely be on consistently ahead of Cassady is Bayreuther’s daughter, Haley, the starting shortstop.
Now a sophomore, Haley led the Cougars in hitting last year with a .378 average. She again will lead off, where she had 31 hits and drew 10 walks last year and stole 15 bases.
Coach Bayreuther hopes No. 9 hitter Stephanie Perleberg, who also has speed, and Haley Bayreuther will open up the offense ahead of Cassady, Lindsey Oliver and Whitney Oliver—the team’s No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters.
“We’ve got to have people on with Cassady and the Olivers up,” coach Bayreuther said. “That is what will make this team successful.”
Lindsey Oliver, a senior, will start at second base for the second straight season, while Whitney Oliver, also a senior, will start at third for the third straight year.
Lindsey drove in 11 runs last year. Whitney drove in eight.
Freshman Leigh Grall will start at first base and bat behind Haley Bayreuther. Junior Jill Blanchard will Grall’s backup.
After Cassady and the two Olivers, senior left fielder Kelly Moench (.180, 3 RBIs) will hit sixth, and junior center fielder Erica Mortensen (.262, 5 RBIs) will bat seventh.
Sophomore Stephanie Kalish and Perleberg (.250, 3 SBs) will share time in right.
Juniors Maggie Bolton and Kelsey Moeller also are outfield prospects.
Junior Bailie Whittaker, a two-year letter winner, will be the starting pitcher today when the Cougars open the season with a nonconference game at Waunakee.
Whittaker threw the majority of the innings last year (111 1/3) and had a 10-5 record with a 1.82 ERA.
Coach Bayreuther also has junior Paige Owens returning (1-4, 1.89 ERA, 37 innings), and sophomore Paige Weber also is in the mix.
“I have to find all of them some time,” Bayreuther said. “I told them whoever gets hot will get the ball right back.”
And Cassady will be catching.
“I haven’t had to coach a catcher for two years,” Bayreuther said. “That’s a luxury.”
That has allowed the coach to concentrate on helping his infielders and hitting.
“My main concern is putting the ball in play,” Bayreuther said. “In our scrimmages, we struck out more than we would like. We want to get people on and put our speed to use. We have people who can move.”
Craig’s schedule, with home games at Dawson Field:
APRIL: Today—At Waunakee, 5 p.m.; 3—Fort Atkinson/Milton, 10 a.m./Noon; 6—at Beloit, 4:30 p.m.; 8—Madison La Follette, 4:30 p.m.; 12—at Madison Memorial, 5 p.m.; 14—Middleton, 4:30 p.m.; 16—at Janesville Parker, 4:30 p.m.; 20—Madison East, 4:30 p.m.; 22—at Madison West, 5 p.m.; 24—Verona, 10 a.m.; 27—Sun Prairie, 4:30 p.m.; 29—Beloit, 4:30 p.m.
MAY: 4—at Madison La Follette, 4 p.m.; 7—Madison Memorial, 4 p.m.; 10—at Fort Atkinson, 4:30 p.m.; 11—at Middleton, 5 p.m.; 14—Janesville Parker, 4 p.m.; 18—at Madison East, 4 p.m.; 20—Madison West, 4 p.m.; 25—at Sun Prairie, 4 p.m.