The Milton defense might be just as good as the Red Hawks’ offense, which is saying a lot for a squad that rattled off 51 runs the last five games.
The Milton High School softball team collected four of five wins from Tuesday, April 2, to Monday, April 8, to improve to 6-1 on the season.
So far this year, the Red Hawks have eclipsed double-digit runs in five of their seven games. Defensively, Milton has only given up more than five runs in one game.
“The girls are hitting the ball well,” co-head coach Kurt Mussey said. “They are executing in key situations. The pitchers are pitching well. They are building confidence, all key factors for winning ball games.”
Milton’s lone loss came on Tuesday, April 2, with a 10-9 loss to Edgewood in a Badger South opener game in Madison.
However, the Red Hawks rebounded on Friday in the Wisconsin Dells with a 14-4 win over West Bend East and a 4-3 triumph against Eau Claire Memorial.
Milton capped off the tournament in the Wisconsin Dells, which was held at Woodside Sports Complex, with a 13-1 victory over St. Croix Central on Saturday.
The Red Hawks picked up their first Badger South win on Monday, April 8, with an 11-4 win over Stoughton at Schilberg Park.
Edgewood 10, Milton 9
The Red Hawks led 9-2 after five innings, but a big sixth inning from the Crusaders tied the contest at 9-9.
Both teams failed to score in the seventh and Edgewood got a run off a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete the comeback.
“We need to keep playing focused fundamental softball whether we are ahead or behind on the scoreboard,” Mussey said. “We started the Edgewood game with consecutive home runs. Emotionally we got way up. We got ahead early on the scoreboard.”
Senior Emily Goodger and Shay Anderson started off the game with back-to-back home runs.
Freshman Grace Schnell and Tori Wurslin also went yard in the defeat
Wurslin ended the game with three runs, three hits and three RBIs. Schnell collected three hits and a pair of runs. Anderson also had three hits and added two runs.
Freshman Hayley Reed pitched 1.2 innings and gave up three runs, none of which were earned.
The Red Hawks outhit the Crusaders 16-9, but also committed three more errors.
Milton 14, West Bend 4
Milton avenged its first loss of the season with a 10-run win over West Bend East on Friday afternoon.
The Red Hawks were unable to score in back-to-back innings, but a three-run first, six-run third, two-run fifth and three-run seventh quickly added up.
Six Red Hawks recorded an RBI in the win, but senior Laura Onsgard led the team with three. Wurslin and Kelly Hanauska each had a pair of runs batted in.
Although Mussey noted his players are playing well, he noted Schnell and Hanauska have stepped up and have made big contributions so far this season.”
“I think new varsity players Grace Schnell and Kelly Hanauska are doing a great job for us,” Mussey said.
Sophomore Erika Reif and Emily Petersen combined to pitch seven innings and gave one earned run each. Reif tossed five innings of work, striking out seven, while Petersen was in the circle for two innings. Petersen collected one strikeout and walked no batters.
Milton 4, Eau Claire 3
The Red Hawks showed some toughness in their fourth win of the year.
Milton trailed 3-1 heading into the seventh inning, but took the lead in the top of the inning with three runs.
Reif, who pitched all seven innings, blanked Eau Claire Memorial in the bottom of the final inning to seal the win.
The teams were knotted at 0-0 until the top of the fourth inning when Milton got a run across thanks to an RBI-single from Schnell.
Eau Claire Memorial would later respond with a three-run sixth.
It was Onsgard’s single with two outs in the top of the seventh inning that got the Red Hawks the lead for good.
“That was a big win for us,” Mussey said. “The girls had a hard time adjusting to the pitcher early on. We got down in the sixth inning like we did in the Edgewood game. They finally made the right adjustments to the pitcher and played fundamental softball in the seventh to close it out.”
Reif finished with a complete-game performance, striking out 11 and walking just two batters.
Milton 13, St. Croix Central 1
Milton’s trip to the Wisconsin Dells ended with an exclamation on Saturday.
After St. Croix scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning, Milton rattled off 13-unanswered runs in a span of four innings to end the game via mercy rule.
Senior Morgan Balch and Anderson collected two RBIs each in the victory.
Once again, the duo of Reif and Reed proved to be potent on the mound.
Reif allowed one earned run in three innings of work. She also struck out five. In the two innings Reed pitched, she was dialed in. Of the 18 pitches she threw, 15 were strikes. She allowed one hit and no runs.
Milton 11, Stoughton 4
The Red Hawks earned their first Badger South win on Monday against Stoughton.
“The girls need to prove to themselves that they can win,” co-head coach Kristy Roherty said. “We have a lot of confidence in them. It’s just one game at a time, especially those conference games.”
Milton scored all 11 runs in the first three innings and the defense did the rest.
Balch and Wurslin both homered in the win and collected two RBIs a piece.
In the Red Hawks’ last five games, the team has homered six times.
“This wasn’t a overnight thing,” said Mussey regarding the outburst of home runs. “It’s been a work in progress. This was a very young team the last couple years, now they got experience.”
Gia Digennaro led the Red Hawks with three hits.
Reif pitched 6.2 innings and gave up no earned runs. The sophomore pitcher also notched 11 strikeouts in her winning-performance.
Milton (6-1, 1-1) played Fort Atkinson on Tuesday, April 9, at Milton, but results were not available by publication time. The Red Hawks will play another Badger South game on Thursday, April 11, with an away game versus Oregon at 5 p.m.