Craig softball team able to rally in two straight games to sweep Parker
JANESVILLE A rivalry game can never be considered over until the final out.
The Janesville Craig High softball team didn't wait that long to come from behind, but the Cougars erased a three-run deficit to beat Janesville Parker 5-4 in the teams' first game on Tuesday.
Then, in the second, the Cougars found themselves in a 6-0 hole before their first at-bat, but they rallied to win 10-9 and sweep the cross-town doubleheader at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex.
"We kept our composure," said Craig senior Leigh Grall, who went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs in the second game. "We got down in both games, but found a way to come back.
"We were pretty upset, but we said we had to keep our heads in it and do our best from there. We said to get a few runs at a time … and that's what we did."
The Cougars improved to 6-6 overall and 5-4 in the Big Eight Conference. Parker fell to 3-8 and 3-6.
In the first game, Parker used a pair of Craig errors in the first inning and then back-to-back singles to open the second to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
That held up until the top of the fifth inning when the Vikings made a pair of errors and Grall's RBI double tied the game.
After the teams traded runs in the sixth, the Cougars' Kylie Clark led off the seventh with a single and stole second base. Alison Hughes followed with a grounder that found its way through the left side of the infield and Clark scored what turned out to be the winning run.
"We've been taking a little too long to get the bats going," Craig co-coach Nicole Zellmer said. "Once we did, we strung a few together. Good for them for pulling it out. It wasn't a very pretty game."
The second game wasn't much prettier, though the bats were certainly alive. The two teams combined for 34 hits.
Parker strung seven of them together in the top of the first inning, including five straight singles after back-to-back outs to begin the game.
The Vikings scored six runs to take a commanding lead.
"I was pleased with how we were hitting," Parker coach Jenni Seiser said. "We had a couple errors at critical times that allowed them to score some runs. If we cut those out, I think it would have been a different story.
"We played two hard games and they definitely shouldn't walk off the field with their heads hanging. … I told the girls, ‘We've just got to not get so comfortable when we get the lead.'"
The Cougars quickly went to work chipping away at their deficit. They scored two runs in the first, three in the second and two more in the third to tie the game, 7-7. Then they used five singles in the fifth to score the deciding runs.
"All year long we've been saying that this team is resilient," Zellmer said. "They aren't going to go down without a fight."
Both the Vikings and Cougars return to action Thursday, hosting doubleheaders against Madison La Follette and Madison East, respectively. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
CRAIG 5, PARKER 4
Craig 000 031 1—5 9 4
Parker 210 001 0—4 5 6
Loveland and Holford; E. Muehlenkamp and H. Muehlenkamp.
Leading hitters—Clark (JC), 2x4; Hackett (JC), 2x3; H. Muehlenkamp (JP), 2x4; E. Muehlenkamp (JP), 2x3. 2B—Grall (JC), Rossing (JC).
SO— Loveland (JC), 3; E. Muehlenkamp (JP), 3. BB—Loveland 5.
CRAIG 10, PARKER 9
Parker 601 100 1—9 16 2
Craig 232 030 x—10 18 4
Homan, E. Muehlenkamp (4) and H. Muehlenkamp; Milam (2/3), Cramer, Loveland (6) and Holford.
Leading hitters—H. Muehlenkamp (JP), 3x5; Litke (JP), 3x5; E. Muehlenkamp (JP), 2x4; Fowler (JP), 2x4; Flister(JP), 3x3; Clark (JC), 2x4; Hughes (JC), 2x4; Grall (JC), 3x4; Cramer (JC), 2x3; Osiecki (JC), 3x4; Hackett (JC), 2x4. 2B—Litke (JP); Myszewski (JP); Clark (JC); Hughes (JC); Osiecki (JC); Hackett (JC).
SO—Homan (JP) 1, Milam (JC) 1, Loveland (JC), 1. BB—E. Muehlenkamp (JP) 1.