By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
Two softball games were played Thursday night at Iverson Park in the inaugural season of the Portage County Women’s Softball League.
Rookies Royals (6-1) came from behind to slip past Rough Rookies (3-4) 13-12, and Graffiti’s (6-0) defeated Post Road Pub, 17-10.
The first game was played under somewhat chilly conditions as Rough Rookies struck first against Rookies Royals with two runs. Alaina Rustad singled and Andrea Stroik belted a long two-run homer to left. The Royals answered with one run in the first on three straight singles by Samantha Zummers, Nicole Kirsch, and Jenna Lewandowski.
Rough Rookies came up with four more runs in the top of the second thanks to singles by Courtney Erdman, Hailee Fuller, Christine Lutzke, and Alaina Rustad and doubles by Taylor Biermeier and Andrea Stroik. The Royals countered with one run in the second when Becky Kurszewski singled and scored on Brittany Pepowski’s triple. 6-2 after two. Rough Rookies added one run in the third when Cheyenne Hahn singled and scored following a walk to Kaitlyn Knudson and Hailee Fuller’s single.
The Royals got one run back as Beke Blue singled to drive in Nicole Kitsch. 7-3. Rough Rookies failed to score in the top of the fourth. The Royals came up with four runs in their half of the fourth to tie it up at 7-7. Becky Kurszewski, Brittany Pepowski, Katie Steinbach, Samantha Zummers, Nicole Kirsch, Jenna Lewandowski, and Beke Blue each contributed base hits.
Five more runs came Rough Rookies way in the top of the fifth as they went ahead 12-7. The big rally included walks to Stacey Zarecki and Cheyenne Hahn and singles by Krystin Eckes, Hailee Fuller, Christine Lutzke, Kristen Felts, and Taylor Biermeier.
The Rough Rookies were destined to fail to score the rest of the way. The Royals chipped away at the lead by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Brittany Pepowski, Kara Kurszewski, Katie Steinbach, Samantha Zummers, and Jenna Lewandowski all singled. Rough Rookies led 12-9 after five.
Neither team tallied in the sixth. Rough Rookies failed to dent the scoreboard in the top of the seventh so the Royals came to bat in the bottom of the seventh needing three runs to tie and four to win.
Samantha Zummers led off with a single (her fourth hit of the game) and Nicole Kirsch also singled. The next two batters made outs so Rough Rookies was one out away from the upset victory. But then Beke Blue doubled to drive in two which made the score 12-11 and sent the chilly crowd into a frenzy.
Then Beke Blue scored on Amy Kurszewski’s two-out triple to tie the game at 12-12. What followed was the first “walk-off” hit of the season as Becky Kurszewski singled to center to drive in Amy Kurszewski with the winning run.
The win left the Royals with a 6-1 record with one game to play next Tuesday. The Rough Rookies fell to 3-4 and they already clinched 3rd Place in the league. They also play in the league finale Tuesday.
In the second game, Graffiti’s remained undefeated (6-0) by defeating Post Road Pub (1-7) 17-10. Graffiti’s hammered out 29 hits while Post Road came up with 14.
For Post Road, Andrea Stroik was sensational at shortstop and Toni Gaddo made two outstanding catches in the outfield. When everything was said and done, Graffiti’s firepower was too much for PRP to overcome. Graffiti’s player/manager Cheyenne Hahn had four singles and scored four runs. Mak Lee singled to drive in two in the first and doubled to knock in three more in the sixth.
Winning pitcher Kristen Felts had four hits (all singles to right) and scored twice. Kayla Keepers drove in a run with a fourth-inning triple, and Kara Sleeter doubled and came home in the fourth. Hailee Fuller, Kayla Keepers, Krystin Eckes, and Kenzie Dorsett each had three hits. Kenzie made her 2016 debut and scored three runs and also pinch-ran for Krystin Eckes who twisted her ankle.
Andrea Stroik was a one-player wrecking crew for Post Road Pub as the shortstop hit a three-run homer in the first to drive in Courtney Erdman, Toni Gaddo, and herself. She also singled in the third and came home on Alishea Johnson’s single. Then Andrea smacked a solo homer to center in the fifth.
Toni Gaddo also had three hits for Post Road Pub while Courtney Erdman and Alishea Johnson added two hits apiece. Toni Gaddo also stole second base even though stealing is not allowed. Umpire Allan Higgins said he was watching a plane fly overhead and umpire Cory Blake was trying to get the Packer game on his cellphone. The stolen base counted.
So the stage is now set for the final night of the season which will be Tuesday, October 25 at Iverson. The big game will be between Rookies Royals and Graffiti’s at 7:30. Then Rough Rookies will play Graffiti’s at 8:30. A playoff for the championship will be at 9:30 if needed.
“Next Tuesday should be really wild. It’s dress up night, and we’re also having a league cookout.” said league commissioner Erin Laffe, who added awards will also be handed out.
ROUGH ROOKIES BATTING STATS: Taylor Biermeier: double, single. Alaina Rustad: two singles, walk. Andrea Stroik: two-run homer, double. Stacey Zarecki: walk, single. Cheyenne Hahn: two singles, walk. Krystin Eckes: single. Courtney Erdman: single, run. Kaitlyn Knudson: two walks, single, hit by pitch. Hailee Fuller: three singles, walk. Christine Lutzke: two singles, two runs. Kristen Felts: single.
ROOKIES ROYALS BATTING STATS: Katie Steinbach: two singles. Samantha Zummers: four singles, three runs. Nicole Kirsch: three singles. Jenna Lewandowski: four singles. Beke Blue: three singles, double, hit two batters with pitches … both were fine. Amy Kurszewski: triple, scored game-winner. Becky Kurszewski: three singles, game-winning two-out RBI. Brittany Pepowski: triple, three singles. Kara Kurszewski: walk, two singles.
Game Two marked the debut of announcer Bobby Sullivan in the scorebooth.
GRAFFITI’S BATTING STATS: Krystin Eckes: three singles. Cheyenne Hahn: four singles, four runs, turns in great lineups. Kristen Felts: four singles, two runs, winning pitcher. Mak Lee: three singles, double. Hailee Fuller: three singles. Liz Morrison: two singles. Kara Sleeter: walk, double. Kayla Keepers (rhymes with Jeepers): two singles, triple. Dana Krug (pronounced Kroog): two singles, got pitching “save”. Kenzie Dorsett: three singles, ran all night.
POST ROAD PUB BATTING STATS: Courtney Erdman: two singles. Toni Gaddo: three singles, two runs, swiped second base (and third). Andrea Stroik: two homers, single. Alishea Johnson: walk, single, double. Desiree Lehman: single, run. Kaitlyn Knudson: single, run. Laura Waltenberg: single, run. Jean Higdon: walk, single, run. Devin Lehman: walk. Carolyn (we didn’t catch the last name): walk, played an interesting center field. Bring on Tuesday…
LEAGUE STANDINGS: Graffiti’s: 6-0. Rookies Royals: 6-1. Rough Rookies: 3-4. Team Biadasz: 2-6. Post Road Pub: 1-7.