First shot the biggest for Janesville Craig
JANESVILLE One swing went a long way to lift Janesville Craig over Janesville Parker, 6-0, in Big Eight Conference softball Wednesday at the Janesville Youth Baseball Complex.
Stephanie Perleberg hit a line shot that cleared the left-field fence to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the first inning and a leg up in the all-important mental game against the Vikings.
“It sort of took the wind out of our sail,” Parker coach Jenni Seisser said. “Our mental toughness has to improve.’’
Craig pocketed its fourth straight victory to improve to 4-2 in the Big Eight and 4-4 overall. Parker fell to 2-6 in the Big Eight and 2-9 overall.
Perleberg said she didn’t think her first career home run was going to clear the fence.
“I just hit it,” Perleberg said. “I didn’t think it was going to make it (over the fence).’’
Craig coach Dan Bayreuther was tickled Perleberg ripped an unexpected home run from her No. 2 spot in the order.
“Good for her,” Bayreuther said. “She hit the ball on the nose.’’
Staked to a 1-0 lead, Craig starting pitcher Paige Weber went on to blank the Vikings on two hits for the complete-game victory. Weber notched seven strikeouts, including striking out the side in the third inning, and issued no walks.
Weber pitched a perfect game until Natalie McDonald singled up the middle to lead off the fourth inning. The Craig junior went on to record the next nine outs before Jacque Ludois singled to lead off the seventh.
“It was my best game of the season,” Weber said. “I got better as the game went on.’’
Craig coach Dan Bayreuther said he was glad to see Weber hold up well in the chilly conditions.
“Paige did a nice job,” Bayreuther said. “She was hitting her corners. It was the best she’s pitched, and maybe if it gets to be 70, she’ll pitch even better.’’
Craig posted three runs on three hits in the third inning and added two runs on two hits and an error to close out the scoring.
Leigh Grall hit a two-run double and Nicole Kelly added an RBI single in the third to give Craig a 4-0 lead. Shelby Hanewold laced a two-run single in the fifth for the final result.
Overall, the Cougars had eight hits, including Perleberg’s 2-for-4 effort.
CRAIG 6, PARKER 0
Janesville Parker 000 000 0—0 2 1
Janesville Craig 103 020 x—6 8 0
Muelenkamp, Ross (3) and Henke; Weber and Sullivan.
Leading hitters—Perleberg (JC) 2x4. 2B—Grall (JC) 2, Blanchard (JC). HR—Perleberg.
SO—Muelenkamp (JP) 1, Ross (JP) 5, Weber (JC) 7. BB—Ross 1.