A spring vacation jaunt to Alabama helped the Grafton softball team in its first week of action in Wisconsin.
The Black Hawks played five games in Alabama during their week off from school, April 10-14, and although they won only two of them, they challenged some strong competition and became better through the experience.
"All our girls varsity players were able to play," said head coach Ken Hunt. "A lot of team bonding took place, and the girls had a chance to get to know one another. We have been fortunate enough to be able to take a trip like this every other year through our fundraising."
On the trip, Grafton beat Baker High of Alabama, 5-1, and Spanish Fort, also of Alabama, 6-2. The Hawks lost to McCracken County of Kentucky, 13-3 and 15-0, and to Baker, 16-1.
Those losses might have been on the ugly side, but once the Hawks returned to Wisconsin, things looked much prettier for them.
They blanked Homestead, 5-0, on April 18 on a two-hitter by Kirsten Krause, then routed Nicolet, 13-0, on April 20 with Amanda Parsons belting three home runs and bringing in six runs. They then topped Mayville, 5-1, on April 21 with Ally Parsons driving in two runs and Krause hurling a four-hitter.
Krause is the team's ace pitcher.
"She has good control and she hits her spots," Hunt said. "She has become much better since the Alabama trip and has not allowed an earned run in Wisconsin (going into this week). Our defense has stood up well behind her."
Ally and Amanda Parsons have led a balanced offensive attack.
"Amanda has been seeing the ball real well," Hunt said. "She is strong enough to do things like hit those three home runs in one game."
Helping Amanda Parsons in the victory over Nicolet were Danielle Koziczkowski with 3-for-4 and an RBI, Abby Caputa with 3-for-3, Chloe Doring 2-for-3 and Ally Parsons with one RBI. Krause picked up the victory with six strikeouts in three innings.
Against Homestead, Ally Parsons had two hits and Krause doubled and drove in three runs. She also struck out 13 and walked only one in a complete game.
In the Mayville contest, Ally Parsons was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Koziczkowski, Krause and Jenna Grandinetti each brought in one run. Krause struck out seven and did not issue a walk.
"We are going the right way and improving," Hunt said. "I think we can make another good run in the conference and the postseason."
Grafton has a busy slate this week, highlighted by a home game against Port Washington (3-0 in the North Shore going into this week) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, and a triangular with Kenosha Bradford and Greendale at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 29, at Kenosha.