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Preble hangs on to beat Pirates, weather

By Rich Palzewic

Contributing Writer

SUAMICO – With a 20-mph wind from the northwest and a little rain thrown in, the Green Bay Preble softball team used some small ball, timely hitting and clutch pitching to eke out a 6-5 Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) victory on April 16 over Bay Port. 

With the Hornets (6-1 overall, 5-1 FRCC) leading 6-3 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Pirates (3-3, 3-1) got their first two batters – Estelle Finlan and Hailey Montie – aboard via walks. 

Preble Coach Ron Metzler then pulled starting pitcher Katie Geydoshek in favor of sophomore Tenley Kuehn. 

Tenley Kuehn

After Kuehn struck out Sydney Rau for the first out, Payton Dudra grounded out, advancing both runners a base. 

Morgan VandenBranden then ripped a two-RBI double to plate Finlan and Montie. 

VandenBranden advanced to third on the play due to a throwing error. 

With the game on the line, Kuehn struck out Willa Stocki to send the crowd home. 

“I was a little nervous coming into the game in such a tight spot, but I knew my teammates had my back,” Kuehn said. “I believed in myself out there.”

Kuehn said she simply focused on throwing strikes. 

“With the wind and rainy weather, I tried to put the ball in the (strike) zone,” she said. “I went pitch by pitch – I’m happy with how things turned out.” 

Metzler said despite Kuehn being a sophomore, she saw plenty of action as a freshman. 

“I’m not sure I would have put her in that position last year with that kind of pressure,” he said. “It was getting dark and raining, and the pressure was on. It was great to see her come through – she showed us what she can do, but we already knew what she could do.” 

The game was scoreless until the top of the third when the Hornets’ Cara Schauer led off the inning with a double, was sacrificed to third on a Kaitlyn Duchateau bunt and eventually scored on a wild pitch. 

Leading 2-0 entering the fifth, Preble plated two more runs to make it 4-0. 

Hannah VonHaden – who led off the inning with a single – eventually scored on an RBI single from leadoff hitter Hannah Smith. 

Smith came around to score on a passed ball later in the inning. 

The Pirates finally plated a run in the bottom of the fifth when Aubrey Parker touched home plate after Finlan was walked with the bases loaded. 

The inning could have been worse, but Geydoshek stranded the bases loaded. 

The Hornets made it 5-1 with a single run in the sixth before Bay Port cut the margin to 5-3 in the bottom of the frame after Willa Stocki knocked in a pair with a triple. 

Preble added an insurance run in the seventh, setting up the late-game fireworks. 

Green Bay Preble pitcher Katie Geydoshek fires a pitch in Fox River Classic Conference action on April 16 versus Bay Port. The Hornets hung on for a 6-5 victory. Rich Palzewic photo 

“It was a wild game,” Metzler said. “You had crazy plays, close calls, bad weather and two good teams. The top half of the FRCC this season is loaded with outstanding pitching. You’ll see a lot of 1-0, 3-1 or 2-1 games – we’re looking forward to that. When we see these games, it’s fun to be a part of.” 

For the Pirates, Coach Chris Nelson said, “I was extremely proud of how my girls hung in there.”

“The girls believe in themselves,” he said. “Preble is a tough team – Geydoshek is one of the top pitchers in the state, so I was happy with our effort.”

The first-year coach – who took over for Amber Francour – said his squad is young but talented. 

“It’s a resilient group,” he said. “We had a few errors but also made some plays we had to. We have to learn how to win – we can’t just play five innings … it has to be a full game. We only have two girls on this year’s team who have varsity experience – the rest are new to varsity softball.” 

Geydoshek – who picked up the win – was charged with all five Bay Port runs but only allowed four hits, struck out 10 and walked six. 

Finlan surrendered nine hits and struck out one in her complete-game effort. 

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