Sun Prairie wins home tournament with wins over Tomah and Oak Creek
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. - After a late game scare from Tomah (7-4), No. 2 Sun Prairie’s defense pulled through to slow down the No. 3 Oak Creek Knights just enough to win, 3-1.
Sun Prairie (19-1) picked up their first ranked win Saturday afternoon against Oak Creek (11-2) at the Sun Prairie Tournament that the Cardinals hosted. The two teams last matched up last year, when the Knights won 3-0.
“It was a big win for us,” Sun Prairie coach Jamie Olson said. “It was a confidence booster for our girls, knowing they can run with the top dogs.”
Sun Prairie benefited from a great performance by sophomore pitcher Taylor Baker. She held the Knights to six hits, while striking out eight batters and throwing a whopping 118 pitches in seven innings.
The Cardinals were able to strike first. Baker also contributed at the plate, getting a base hit up the middle in the bottom of the second inning. After a passed ball and a ground out from the next batter, Baker tagged up and made it home safely on senior Kennedy Schaefer’s sacrifice fly.
Sun Prairie were not overly successful from the plate. The Cardinals were up against Oak Creek junior Riley Grudzielanek, who is committed to the Northwestern Wildcats. Grudzielanek only gave up one earned run on four hits in six innings. She also struck out batters 10 times on 113 total pitches.
The Cardinals added two unearned runs to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning due to three team errors by the Knights. Sun Prairie freshman Luci Moreno started the inning off with a single up the middle before she and sophomore Grace Kramschuster both scored.
“I just had to think things through and take a deep breath,” Moreno said. “To be honest, I just stuck my bat out there because I didn’t know where she was going to pitch it. Thankfully I got that hit.”
Oak Creek’s top offensive performance came from junior Madisen Noll, who went 2-3 and scored the Knights’ sole run.
The Knights threatened Sun Prairie in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with only one out, but failed to score again.
“We continued to put runners into scoring position, we just didn’t finish,” Oak Creek coach Jeff Trask said. “So, if we can figure out how to get that timely hit, we will be OK.”
Ultimately, it was Sun Prairie’s defensive effort that pushed them to victory. The Cardinals only committed one error in the entire game, on a fielder’s choice when Knoernschild hit Noll in the back on an attempt to throw her out at third base.
“There’s one thing that I say in my mind and that I said to my teammates ‘play for each other,’” Moreno said. “If we keep doing that, good things will come.”
Sun Prairie’s next game is Tuesday night against Beloit Memorial. Oak Creek plays three conference games in the next week before hosting Verona.