Bay Port’s Emma Hock (left) and Maddy Ehlke have nine home runs combined for the Pirates’ softball team (Rich Palzewic photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Maddy Ehlke and Emma Hock are much different physically, but the results for the two so far this season have been the same.
The 5-foot-10 Ehlke has clubbed four dingers, while the 5-foot-4 Hock has five in the Pirates’ first 15 games.
The sophomore Ehlke was a first-team all-conference selection last season as a freshman from her first-base position after she smacked five round-trippers in Bay Port’s run towards a Fox River Classic Conference title.
Hock, a junior catcher, didn’t hit a home run last year, but has shown remarkable pop from her leadoff spot in 2018.
“My expectations coming into this year were obviously just to do better than last year and help my team win,” said Ehlke. “I wanted to do my best, but not over-try and fall down.”
Ehlke said Pulaski didn’t really take too many chances at pitching to her in a doubleheader to begin the season, but every other team has at least given her some pitches to hit – going inside and out to try and throw her off balance.
Hock’s unexpected power surge comes on the heels of a 2017 campaign where she didn’t have a very good year at the plate – by her own admission.
“It is surprising,” said Hock about her hot start. “I just didn’t feel it at the plate last year, so it’s been a lot of fun so far this year. I changed my stance over the winter where I have more of an open stance and step into it more, and get more power from my bottom half.”
Both girls are looking at playing softball in college, but are focused right now on helping the Pirates play their best ball coming into the postseason.
“I definitely would like to try and get a college scholarship, but I’m not quite sure where yet,” said Ehlke, who is looking to study criminal justice at the next level. “I’ll be going to some camps this offseason and training. I want to pick a college based more on the location and what they offer as compared to having to go to a specific one.”
Hock, whose older brother Connor (2015 graduate) has pitched at the D1 level, just knows she wants to head some place south.
“I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking at either,” Hock said, who plans on studying sports medicine or health science. “D1 kind of owns you when you get there, but I am a fan of the warmer weather – that’s for sure.”
Whereas Hock comes from a baseball family, Ehlke wasn’t around the game too much until she was in elementary school.
“I remember when I was 10 and my parents signed me up for softball,” she said. “I was like, ‘what’s that?’ I went there and after the first year I really liked the game. I met new people and enjoyed that part of it.”
Bay Port is currently 8-7 overall and 7-5 in the FRCC. The WIAA postseason begins Wednesday May 23 with regional play.