Strike 3 x 21: Brodhead pitcher mows them down
When the foul ball off the bat of a Clinton High softball hitter fell out of the reach of the Brodhead fielders with two outs in the seventh inning, Cardinal coach Steve Krupke was agitated.
His assistant coaches let out sighs of relief behind him.
For when the batter struck out to end the Rock Valley Conference game Thursday, Brodhead pitcher Erika Stampfli had accomplished something that likely will never be bettered.
The junior recorded all 21 outs in the 5-0 victory over Clinton by strikeouts.
Stampfli did issue five walks, but the 21 strikeouts was the news—and it was news to Krupke.
“From a coaching standpoint, you’re looking at so many things like whether your kids are hustling out ground balls,” Krupke said. “In the seventh inning, my assistant coaches were a little squirmy, because you don’t talk about things like that.
“I honestly didn’t know that was happening. They told me as soon as she threw her last pitch.”
Clinton coach Richard Brandl is in his 28th season, and he has never witnessed anything like that.
“Not 21, I can tell you that much,” Brandl said. “She kept throwing it up around our eyes, and we never adjusted.”
Krupke, who is a fast-pitch pitcher himself, says rising fastballs rise even more when they are thrown into the wind, which Stampfli had going for her on Thursday.
“When you throw a riser with the wind, it doesn’t bite as much,” Krupke said. “But she had her changeup going as well, so their better hitters couldn’t just sit on her riser.”
Stampfli, who has shared time with freshman Amanda Pickel, improved to 9-0 on the season for the 12-2 Cardinals.
And Krupke didn’t say much to his left side of the infield after those players couldn’t reach that foul ball with one out to go in the seventh.
“Looking back, they didn’t have to move much during the game,” he said.