Whitefish Bay's softball team earns first win in school history over Homestead
Key moment in Blue Dukes' resurgence
The earth shifted, the skies parted, and a change occurred in the world of North Shore Conference girls softball on May 1.
Was this actually the first time that this has ever happened?
Whitefish Bay 7, Homestead5.
Probably, it was.
"...I was very happy to see in this morning's newspaper that the Bay softball team defeated Homestead yesterday. Dante (De La Pasqua) and I started the softball program 29 years ago and I believe this is the very first time Bay has defeated Homestead in those nearly 3 decades of competition," former Blue Duke coach Jerry Schmitz said in an e-mail to Bay Athletic Director John Gustavson on May 2.
"I would guess our record with Homestead was somewhere around 0-60 going into yesterday's game. Please extend my congratulations to the coach and players and let them know they made history as a team yesterday. I wish them continued success this season."
Others weighed in too.
"She (current coach Jessica Middendorf) texted me about the win," said former Blue Duke and now Oak Creek coach Jeff Trask. "I congratulated her and told her that it's always exciting to beat Homestead, especially considering where we were years ago."
Because there were many bad days in the history of the Blue Duke softball program, back when they were mere afterthoughts to teams like Homestead and Germantown. But those days are now past.
Bay is not likely to win a North Shore Conference title this year, a tough 7-3 loss on Monday, May 5 to defending champion Germantown probably sealed the deal on that, but Middendorf and her crew of overachievers have finally broken one of the sacred barriers, they have turned the corner.
"That's a really nice team," said Germantown co-coach Kurt Raguse, whose team has qualified for state in each of the last two seasons. "They're just a couple of players away and they don't quit." Germantown only beat Bay 5-3 in the team's first meeting of the season a month ago.
For Middendorf, a former Bay player who endured some of the bad old days on the field herself, this is all very gratifying and still very new.
"We have improved every year and really have been playing well lately," said. "We played Cedarburg (too) this week and came away with a 22-3 win and then we followed that with our win yesterday versus Homestead. ...There is a lot of excitement this week in the softball community and it would be great to highlight the efforts of the girls on this team. They have earned it!"
After the loss to Germantown, the Blue Dukes are still only a modest 5-6, but that has included two two-run losses and one one-run loss. They are 3-3 in North Shore play and are slated to have three more North Shore games this week, including a tilt at Grafton on Thursday, May 8 at 4:30 p.m.
They will then host rival Nicolet on Monday, May 12 at 4:30 p.m.
So how did the impossible against Homestead happen?
Not easily. Bay took a 3-0 lead on the Highlanders (7-1), only to have Homestead tie the score in the top of the third. The Blue Dukes took the lead back in the bottom of the frame with two runs of their own but the Highlanders came back with solo runs in the fifth and sixth to tie it once more.
But two runs in the bottom of the sixth finally sealed the deal for the Blue Dukes. A walk to Brianna Johnson forced in Anna Lauko with the go-ahead run. In that first inning, Amelia Flint doubled home Lauko and then Flint herself scored on a single by Coeli Merrill. Johnson also had an RBI groundout.
Kenzie McElduff went all seven innings for the victory with three strikeouts and two walks.
And there was one more interested observer to the proceedings.
"I was there and it was a lot of fun," said Gustavson, "and this was not a fluke where we got every break and the ball hit a pebble. We've been close to these teams (Homestead and Germantown) for years now.
"It's a real testament to the work coach Middendorf and her kids have put in."
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