Janesville Parker’s softball team came out on the wrong end of most of its close games early in the season.
Those experiences, however, may be paying off at just the right time.
Parker held off Madison Memorial, 4-3, in a Big Eight Conference game Saturday morning at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex. It was the Vikings’ fourth straight win in the span of six days, and three of those victories came by one run.
Parker, which improved to 12-11 overall heading into the WIAA postseason, was just 2-5 in games decided by three runs or less coming into this week.
“I’m glad we’ve been able to pull through,” said Parker pitcher Chelsea Naber, who threw 6 1/3 innings to earn on the win on Senior Day, celebrating along with Julianna Getka and Jeni Malphy. “At the beginning of the season, we weren’t able to pull through it seemed like.
“Now our batting is really coming through. We’re stringing hits together.”
Naber helped stake herself to an early lead against the Spartans. After sophomore catcher Alexys Luek belted a two-out double to the wall in right field, Naber singled her home. Jasmyn Demrow then followed with a triple to right to plate Naber for a 2-0 lead.
Demrow made it 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth when she led off with a single, stole second base, moved to third on Grace Williams’ single and scored on Taylor Barfield’s sacrifice fly.
And Parker got another insurance run an inning later when Alli Rosga belted a one-out single, moved to second on an error and later scored on Naber’s single up the middle.
“We’re just taking advantage of every opportunity a team gives us to score,” Getka said. “Just pull together as a team, get our hits and score when we can.”
The Vikings needed those insurance runs, because Memorial’s bats came alive in the sixth. The Spartans had just four hits in the first five innings against Naber—who just threw an extra-innings complete game in a win over Middleton on Friday night. But Memorial got four hits in the span of five at-bats to get within one run.
Naber got two strikeouts to end the rally and opened the top of the seventh with her eighth punchout. But after a walk, she gave way to Getka to try and slam the door.
“I’m just thinking, get out of there,” Getka said.
She got one out on a sacrifice fly, but the pinch runner made a head’s up play to go all the way from first base to third. She was stranded there, however, when Getka snared a line drive that was headed right back over her head to end the game.
Luek, Naber and Demrow were all 2-for-3 for the Vikings, with Luek belting two doubles and Naber finishing with two RBI.
Riding a four-game winning streak that includes wins over the No. 2 team in the state (Sun Prairie) and the teams that were directly behind them in the Big Eight standings (fifth-place Middleton and sixth-place Memorial), the Vikings feel they’ve got momentum on their side heading into Tuesday’s WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal at seventh-seeded Oregon.
“We’re getting hot right before the playoffs,” Naber said. “That’s what really matters, not the beginning of the season. I’m looking forward to it.”
PARKER 4, MEMORIAL 3Madison Memorial 000 003 0—3 8 2
Janesville Parker 200 110 x—4 7 1
Decker; Naber, Getka (7) and Luek
Leading hitters—Kimball (M) 2x3, Esser (M) 2x3, N. Frisch (M) 2x3, Luek (P) 2x3, Naber (P) 2x3, Demrow (P) 2x3. 2B—N. Frisch, L. Frisch (M), Luek 2. 3B—Demrow.
SO—Decker 4, Naber 8. BB—Decker 2, Naber 1.