The Germantown girls softball team didn't know it at the time of its 16-3 six-inning rout of Milwaukee Lutheran on May 19, but the road to its sixth straight North Shore Conference title got a little help along the way.
Whitefish Bay upset Grafton, 9-8, in eight innings on May 19, knocking the Black Hawks (11-3 in league games) out of a share of the championship and lifting the Warhawks (12-2 in NSC play) to the top of the podium all by themselves. Grafton had given Germantown both of its NSC losses.
Before they heard the news of the Bay upset, the Warhawks were just pleased to put a happy ending on this portion of the regular season.
'We took a roundabout way to get a share of the conference title,' said co-coach Kurt Raguse. 'We would have liked to have won it outright but Grafton played two very good games against us.'
Raguse later sent copious thanks to Bay coach Jess Middendorf.
The senior-dominated Warhawks (16-8 overall) were just relieved to get their portion of the job done.
'This was very important,' said senior pitcher Michelle Moore. 'Like I've told other people, it's better to share it than to lose it.'
'We've been working very hard so we can turn it up in the (WIAA) playoffs,' said senior outfielder Carly Szada.
The Warhawks closed out their regular season with a doubleheader at Kenosha Tremper on May 21 and then look forward to the WIAA playoffs. The state meet veteran team earned the second seed in its sectional bracket behind DSHA.
They earned a first round bye and now will face the winner of Milwaukee King and Bradley Tech in a regional final on Friday, May 27 (TBA). The winner will advance to host a sectional semifinal on Tuesday, May 31, likely against third-seeded Brookfield Central. The sectional final will be Thursday, June 2 back at Germantown's Kennedy Middle School fields.
Germantown, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its only WIAA state championship, is seeking its fifth straight WIAA state tournament berth.
The seniors have known nothing else.
'One more trip would be great,' said Moore.
Raguse said the team, despite its uneven record, has the capability of doing that and more if it does all the right things and stays focused.
They did that for the most part against NSC last place finisher Lutheran (2-15).
They took a 2-0 lead in the first, broke the game open with a four-run second with the help of a two-run throwing error and RBI hits from Moore and Amanda Williams and then all but closed out the deal with a six-run third that included a two-run double from Ellie Decker.
Megan Cull earned the win, throwing four innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts, three walks, and only two hits allowed. Williams had a big day with four hits, four runs scored, three doubles and two RBI.
There was no real celebration afterwards as the Warhawks did not know the true extent of their good fortune until well afterward.
Raguse was just pleased to have taken care of business.
'We came out and won it today,' he said. 'We did what we needed to do. There was no let-up and we got it done as early as we could.'