The Bay Port softball team got a 1-0 victory over Menasha May 23 with the help of 14 strikeouts from pitcher Sydney LaPoint (Melinda Palzewic photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Bay Port softball pitcher Sydney LaPoint worked fast and furious in the Pirates’ opening game of the WIAA D1 postseason May 23.
The result was a dominant performance in a 1-0 victory over the Menasha Bluejays in the regional semifinals.
LaPoint struck out 14 – including nine in a row at one point – and surrendered just two hits. The senior righty didn’t walk a batter in helping her team advance to the regional finals Friday (1:00) against Ashwaubenon at Pioneer Park.
“I’m so proud of the way Sydney pitched,” said first-year head coach Dave Luedke. “She’s been doing that all year – the good ones always want the ball and she has wanted it all year.”
LaPoint didn’t allow a hit until a one-out double in the fifth, but got out of the inning thanks to some good defense.
Catcher Emma Hock tried to catch the Menasha base runner leading too far off second after the pitch, but her throw went into centerfield to an awaiting Vanessa Bushmaker, who picked up the ball and threw a strike to third baseman Karigann Wood for the second out of the inning.
“That was obviously a big play right there,” Luedke added. “It was a bang-bang play, but we executed there when we needed to.”
LaPoint, a St. Cloud State recruit, also gave up a one-out hit in the seventh, but true to her form, she ended the game two batters later with her 14th strikeout.
I just knew everyone had to play good,” said LaPoint, who picked up her 651st career strikeout in the game. “It was only 1-0, so we struggled a little bit there, but Karigann came through. I knew I had to be strong on the mound.”
Wood drove in the only run of the game for Bay Port in the fourth with a two-out single to right on a 1-2 pitch. Maddy Ehlke – who reached base on a fielder’s choice, was sacrificed to second on a Jourdan Lee bunt and advance to third on a wild pitch – scored on the play.
“I like to visualize before I go up to bat,” said Wood. “I was actually shaking when I was up there. I knew I had to pull through for the team and believe in myself.”
Hock and LaPoint had the only other hits for the Pirates.
Round three on the year with Ashwaubenon should be a dandy of a game, as both games earlier in the season were 3-2 scores with the teams splitting.
“If people recall, both of those games ended in walk-off fashion,” Luedke noted. “You will see two great pitchers in LaPoint and (Kate) Cleveland. Runs have been a premium for us, so we will have to go out and take advantage of the opportunities we get. We’ve been having a tough time stringing hits together.”
Note: To read the story about the Bay Port/Ashwaubenon doubleheader from earlier in the season, CLICK HERE.
Menasha: 000 000 0 – 0 2 2
Bay Port: 000 100 X – 1 3 1