Softball: Shawano secures key conference road win

Habeck has monster game for Hawks

By Morgan Rode

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano third baseman Naomi Wynos, center, makes a throw to first base during the sixth inning of Wednesday’s Bay Conference win over Green Bay East. Hawks shortstop Bayleigh Laabs, right, and left fielder Abi Vomastic, left, are also pictured.

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano pitcher Gracyn Habeck delivers a pitch during Wednesday’s Bay Conference win over Green Bay East. Habeck pitched the final three innings to earn the save.

The Shawano Community High School softball team was able to hang on late for an 8-6 Bay Conference victory over Green Bay East at Riverside Park in Green Bay on a cold Wednesday afternoon.

In what has become a trend over the past few games, Shawano (2-4) trailed early on. A pair of errors set for stage for a Green Bay East (1-3) two-run single in the opening inning off Hawks starting pitcher Emilee Bastar.

Instead of letting the early deficit fluster them, like it had in previous games, Shawano kept battling and was able to flip the momentum with a three-run third.

“I think we’ve learned some lessons because for three games in a row, we’ve let things spiral out of control and haven’t been able to pick ourselves back up. That’s actually what we talked about before the game,” Shawano coach Brian Johnson said. “I’m real happy about how they kept focused, kept working to fight back and answer the bell.”

Shawano did all of its damage in the third with two outs.

Senior Bayleigh Laabs reached on an error before scoring on a double by junior Gracyn Habeck. Then, sophomores Naomi Wynos and Taylor Johnson each hit singles to give the Hawks the lead.

After allowing the two unearned runs in the first, Bastar settled into a groove in the circle. She pitched into the fifth inning, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out two batters.

“A big thing for me is moving on. You have to a short-term memory when it comes to pitching or anything when you are playing softball. You have to keep thinking you’ll get the next one,” said Bastar, a senior. “I know I have a good defense backing me up at all times and I know if the other team is hitting off me, I got my solid team backing me up.”

Habeck came on in relief of Bastar and ended up getting the final nine outs to earn the save.

She worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth to help the Hawks preserve the lead. Laabs, the Hawks shortstop, fielded a grounder and threw home to force the lead runner out before junior right fielder Isabella Buettner made a acrobatic catch for the final out.

Shawano added critical insurance runs in the sixth, scoring five times to increase the lead to 8-2.

Junior Sarah Mente reached on a dropped third strike before moving to second when senior Kate Hoffman reached on an error with one out.

Laabs followed by reaching on an error, allowing pinch-runner Elizabeth Esch, a senior, to score from second.

Habeck continued her big night with a RBI single to make it 5-2 before Wynos singled to load the bases.

After a lineout for the second out, junior Abi Vomastic — who had entered the game off the bench after an injury to junior Jewel Waupekenay — stepped to the plate, hoping to make up for misplaying a wind-driven flyball in the previous half inning.

Vomastic came through in a big way, ripping a single to center, scoring two runs to make it 7-2.

“It’s definitely because of my team helping me get over the mistake I made in the field — just making me forget about it as I went to go bat,” said Vomastic on how she bounced back. “All you got to do is forgot those bad things and move on to the next play.”

The inning rolled on, with junior Macie Herm reaching on another error that plated another run to make it 8-2. The Hawks appeared to score another run with a single in the next at-bat, but it was wiped off the scoreboard as the team failed abide by the re-entry rule.

Green Bay East was able to plate two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh and eventually brought the winning run to the plate, but Habeck induced a game-ending groundout to preserve the road win.

Along with picking up the three-inning save, Habeck reached base in all five of her at-bats, posting four hits and reaching on a error.

“I really like those high fastballs, that’s what really gets me. She (the opposing pitcher) was throwing perfect speed for me and I really think everyone was able to connect on her,” said Habeck. “I think we’re really doing a good job with the bats this year.”

Shawano finished with 13 hits while limiting East to nine. The Hawks did not draw any walks, but took advantage of six East errors, as all eight runs were unearned.