Craig victory clinches at least share of softball title
Janesville Craig High softball coach Dan Bayreuther likes the sound of that.
The Cougars scored once in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday and hung on for a 1-0 win over host Sun Prairie. The victory gave Craig at least a share of the Big Eight title.
Craig (18-4 overall) finished 16-2 in the conference. Verona is 15-2 in the Big Eight with today's game remaining against La Follette. The conference title is Bayreuther's third at the school, and first since the 2002 season.
"These girls deserve all the credit," Bayreuther said. "They're a resilient group that has done everything I've asked of them.
"We've played solid softball all season, and a team is going to have to play pretty well to beat us in the tournament."
Paige Weber was steady on the mound for the Cougars. The sophomore improved to 12-3 and lowered her ERA to a miniscule 1.53. Weber struck out five to run her season total to 81, and walked only two. She has walked only 12 in 15 games.
The Cougars got their only run on a triple by Leigh Grall and a two-out RBI single by Lindsey Oliver.
Sun Prairie had runners on second and third and only one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Weber got out of a jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
Craig is likely to be the No. 3 sectional seed in the Division 1 tournament that begins next Tuesday. Kenosha Bradford and Wilmot are the likely No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.
"We're playing very well right now, especially our pitching and defense," Bayreuther said. "I know Bradford and Wilmot have real nice teams, but we've proven all year long that we can play with anybody.
"The Verona doubleheader is really the only bad games we've had, and I think the girls have put those behind them. We're ready for tournament play."
CRAIG 1, SUN PRAIRIE 0 (9)
Janesville Craig 000 000 001—1 4 0
Sun Prairie 000 000 000—0 8 1
Weber and Cassady; Running and Huemmer.
Leading hitters—Grall (C) 2x4, Hoppman (SP) 3x4, Running (SP) 2x4. 2B—Grall (C), Hoppman (SP), Huemmer (S). 3B—Grall (C).
SO—Weber (C) 5, Running (SP) 4. BB—Weber 2, Running 2.