Wilmot's Wood shut down Fort softball team
“Any dummy can coach when you don’t give up a run, right?” he said Friday afternoon at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex.
No one is questioning Movrich’s coaching ability or IQ, but he does have a point.
Wood threw her 14th straight shutout Friday, leading the Panthers to a 2-0 victory over Badger South champion Fort Atkinson in a WIAA Division 1 sectional final.
That sends Wilmot to the state tournament, where the Panthers will play Oconomowoc in the quarterfinls at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Goodman Diamond in Madison.
Wilmot (23-1) will be a state title contender as long as Wood is drilling the outside corner of the plate with her variety of pitches.
Fort Atkinson (20-7) managed just one hit—an infield single by Amber Foerster—and struck out 13 times.
The Blackhawks had one serious threat with runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth inning, but Wood extinguished that with a strikeout.
Wood gave Fort Atkinson coach Jeff Agnew a few tidbits of knowledge.
“I know we struck out too many times,” Agnew said, “and I know she’s a wonderful pitcher.”
Wood, who came into the game with a 0.26 ERA and helped the Panthers win their third straight outright Southern Lakes Conference title, also provided the only run she needed. With junior classmate, batterymate and leadoff hitter Bailie Sheahan on second after a single and sacrifice in the first inning, Wood lined Kaitlyn Hollman’s 0-2 pitch into the right- center field gap, scoring Sheahan.
“That was nice,” Wood said. “I’d been in a slump.”
“Kaitlyn gave her the high heat, and she got around on it,” Agnew said.
The only other run in the game came in the fifth when Sheahan doubled home Kaitlyn Hutchinson, who had walked to open the inning.
Hollman pitched well, allowing five hits and striking out six.
“I like her,” Movrich said. “She kept us off-balanced.”
But she couldn’t keep up with Wood, who started pitching when she was 7.
Fort’s main threat came in the fifth when Cori Bleecker drew a walk with one out.
Courtney Jacobson then dropped down a bunt and reached safely when the throw to first trickled out of the first baseman’s glove.
Foerster sacrificed the runners up a base, but Marta Kotz went down swinging.
“I thought Marta had good swings on her,” Agnew said. “Just missed it by a bit.”
“When the game is on the line,” Movrich said, “nine out of 10 times, she’s going to get the out.”
Foerster was the only other Fort Atkinson base runner to get as far as second. After her hit to deep shortstop in the third, Kotz sacrificed her to second with two out.
Maddy Podmolik then had one of the hardest hit balls off Wood, but third baseman Kerrigan Patterson fielded it cleanly and threw Podmolik out at first.
Agnew gave Wood all the credit.
“She’s a special player,” Agnew said. “Our motto was ‘put the ball in play,’ and in a few innings, that is what we did. Unfortunately, there were too many innings where we didn’t put the ball in play.”
Meanwhile, the Panthers go on to play at state for the second straight season.
“We got to score some runs,” Movrich said. “It’s as simple as that.”
With Wood on the mound, the Panthers won’t need many.
WILMOT 2, FORT ATKINSON 0
Fort Atkinson 000 000 0—0 1 0
Wilmot 100 010 x—2 5 1
Hollman and Gartland; Wood and Sheahan.
Leading hitters—Sheahan (W) 2x3, Wood (W) 2x3. 2B—Sheahan (W), Wood (W). Sac—Ke. Hutchinson (W), Foerster (FA), Lotz (FA), Jacobson (FA). SB—Ke. Hutchinson (W), Vogel (W).
SO—Hollman (FA) 6, Wood (W) 13. BB—Hooman 2, Wood 1.