SUAMICO - Katie Przybylski sure knows how to make an impact during her first full season with the Bay Port varsity softball team.
For the second straight day the sophomore came through in the clutch, delivering a game-winning hit on Tuesday. However, Tuesday’s hit was anything but just another hit.
Przybylski launched a two-run home run over the right-centerfield fence, giving the Pirates a huge 5-3 eight-inning win over Green Bay East in Fox River Classic Conference play.
The win lifts Bay Port, the defending conference champs, to 11-1 in the FRCC, taking over first place from East, which fell to 10-1.
“We knew it was a tough game that we needed to play,” Przybylski said. “We needed to step up.”
Bay Port coach Paul Baker didn’t know if his team could win the FRCC title without winning Tuesday. A loss would’ve put the Pirates two games behind the Red Devils.
“We would’ve needed a lot of help,” Baker said. “They have some tough games coming up.”
Przybylski is Ms. Clutch
During Monday’s 1-0 win over Green Bay Preble, Przybylski drove in the game’s only run but Tuesday’s game-winner is something players dream of but rarely live to experience.
Entering the at-bat Przybylski was 0-for-3 and didn’t hit the ball out of the infield. Her fourth time she made up for it.
“I knew it was far out there, but I didn’t know if it was over or not,” she said. “I was looking for a base hit. I wanted to get on and wanted to score. I wasn’t expecting that.”
Przybylski said she didn’t know what type of pitch she hit, just that it felt real good.
“It was a pitch I loved and I just drove it,” she said. “It’s the best feeling ever.”
As the game entered extra innings, Baker felt with his offense his team could win it. It had hit the ball hard much of the game, but only had three runs to show for it, because of East’s defense.
But Ashley Baker opened the eighth inning with a single and then it was Przybylski’s turn.
“Katie is a great player,” Baker said. “She’s up here because of an injury. Our starting centerfielder tore her labrum and we gave Katie a look. She hits the ball hard.”
Rain affects game
The first five innings flew by as starting pitchers Lauren Janssen of Bay Port and East’s Charity Huwe threw well with some good defense behind them.
But in the top of the sixth there were multiple rain delays and it might’ve favored East. Bay Port changed pitchers to Taylor Gutzman, who struggled with the rain.
She couldn’t get a good grip on the ball and the she hit a batter, threw three wild pitches and walked a batter which allowed East to tie the game at 3-all. Gutzman was coming off a shutout against Preble and her FRCC earned run average was below 1.00, so this was unlike her.
Baker said Gutzman’s hand is smaller than Janssen's, so he went back to his left-hander and it paid off.
“She was solid,” Baker said of Janssen. “Everyone asks, ‘Who’s better?’ They’re both very good. They’re completely different. Lauren is down, down, down and Taylor is off-speed. She did an excellent job.”
After a walk-off home run one team is ecstatic and the other is sad. East coacm Tom Zimdars tried to describe it.
“Horrible,” he said. “I just totally believed we were going to win the game. I’ll tip my hat to them, she hit the ball hard.”
- Notes: East had six hits, one in the first inning and five in the two-run fourth-inning. … Bay Port had its leadoff hitter reach base in five innings. … East, which entered the game averaging a league-high 10.5 runs per game, scored a season-low three runs in FRCC play. … Bay Port entered the game allowing 1.2 runs per game, best in the FRCC.
- Game ball: Przybylski, who launched Bay Port into first place in the FRCC.
- Numbers game: 1 Loss each in FRCC play for East and Bay Port.
BAY PORT 5, GREEN BAY EAST 3
Green Bay East..000 201 00 – 3 6 0
Bay Port………...100 020 02 – 5 10 1
WP – Lauren Janssen (7 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5 K)
LP – Charity Huwe (7 IP, 2 K, BB)
Top hitters: GBE – Jamie Schleis 2-3. BP – Hannah Hilbert 2-4; Tayler Long 2-4; D.J. Garceau 2-4; Ashley Baker 3-4; Katie Przybylski 1-4, HR, 2 RBI.
Records: GBE 13-3, 10-1. BP 14-2, 11-1.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay