Beloit Turner and McFarland have owned Rock Valley Conference softball over the last decade.
The last time one of those two programs didn’t win or share a conference title was 2012, when Edgerton won what was then the Rock Valley North.
That may change by the time this season ends. McFarland is currently tied for sixth place in the standings and is six games behind in the loss column to front-running Jefferson. Turner is just a game behind in the loss column and sitting in third place, but the Trojans don’t seem to have the offensive firepower or dominant pitching they’ve had in seasons past to win an eighth straight conference title.
Jefferson and East Troy are the two hottest teams in the league, winning a combined 21 straight games.
Jefferson is 11-1 in the conference and holds a two-game lead over second-place East Troy (8-2).
The eighth-ranked Eagles are averaging a whopping 10.6 runs per game, are batting .402 as a team and have won 12 straight since a season-opening loss to Whitewater.
Kylee Lukes is the catalyst for the Eagles. The senior is batting .500, has scored 25 runs and is tied for the lead in the state with nine home runs.
Edgerton’s Tony DeWar, the dean of Rock Valley coaches, is impressed with the Eagles. His team lost twice to Jefferson this week.
“Jefferson is legit,” DeWar said. “They’re the most complete team I’ve seen in our conference in a long time.
“They’ve really got it rolling now. They do a lot of things right both offensively and defensively.”
East Troy has won nine straight since a Week 1 loss to Jefferson.
The Trojans are also averaging in double digits with 10.2 runs per game and are hitting .442 as a team.
Whitewater on the rise
The team to keep an eye in the Rock might be Whitewater. The Whippets are currently 8-3 in the conference. They could be especially dangerous if and when they get Alyssa Schumacher back from injury for good.
The junior was 10-for-16 at the plate before injuring her leg early in the year. It’s been a pesky injury.
An all-Rock Valley first-team selection in 2018 at catcher, Schumacher attempted to return to the lineup last week, but head coach Ron Sdano said that may have been too soon, and Schumacher is out of the lineup again this week.
Sdano said the title is Jefferson’s to lose.
“I’m not sure that anyone is going to catch them,” he said. “We split with them, but they’ve beaten Turner and East Troy, so we need a lot of help.
“But it’s been fun just being competitive after taking our lumps. With our five seniors and four juniors, it was time for us to be competitive, and we have been. It’s been nice.”
Turner had to replace five first-team all-conference selections but still sits at 7-2 in conference play following Tuesday’s win over McFarland. The Trojans are ranked sixth in the state in Division 2 but are only 4-4 since starting 4-0.
The remaining six teams in the conference aren’t likely to contend for a title but can certainly play the role of spoiler.
Turner and McFarland have won a combined 13 straight Rock Valley titles. A 14th straight is still doable—especially for Turner—but Jefferson, East Troy and Whitewater won’t make it easy.
Summers makes statement at Big Foot
A power surge interrupted Walworth Big Foot’s softball team last week.
Riley Summers provided it.
The freshman belted four home runs and drove in 10 in a four-game span. She had a whopping 45 total bases in four games, scored nine runs, walked six times and finished 7-for-10 at the plate.
Summers is hitting .438 on the season and is fifth in the state with seven home runs. That’s a good year for most players. Summers did most of her damage in four games.