KIMBERLY —Monday, Appleton North and Kimberly met in a softball doubleheader with each team looking to make a statement in regards to the Fox Valley Association standings.
It didn’t take long to see which team was going to be making the statement. Kimberly scored three times on no hits in the first inning of the opener, setting the tone and it never stopped as Kimberly rolled the Lightning twice, 13-3 in five innings and 11-1 in six innings at Sunset Park.
Afterwards, Kimberly pitcher Megan Kleist knew her team was capable of recording convincing wins.
“I’m not really surprised,” the junior said. “We really worked on hitting our pitches and I think that’s what we did. And I think we made the plays we needed to make plays.”
North stumbled out of the gate as the home team in the opener, allowing three runs before it batted, but there was some controversy. Twice, North’s catcher was called for pulling her foot off home plate too soon on a force play, allowing two runs to score.
“We hit the ball well but we were fortunate,” Kimberly coach Bill Weyers said. “That’s not something you see too often.”
Kleist, an Oregon recruit, was one of many Papermakers (11-1, 8-1) who made their presence felt. She limited North (4-3, 4-3) to one run in the nightcap and drilled one of the team’s three runs on the day, while in Game 1 she pitched the first two innings before being pulled as Kimberly led 10-0 after two and a half innings.
Kleist, who teamed with Summer Zachow, to limit North to five total hits on the day, liked how the offense supported her.
“That’s really nice to see,” she said. “It gives you a lot of leeway, gives you a chance to fool around with a few pitches.”
Prior to the game it was expected runs would be at a premium as Kleist and North’s Maddie Boyd (Valparaiso) are Division I recruits. However, Boyd ran into bad luck and fell behind a team that was swinging hot bats, recording 17 hits combined in the two games.
Kleist said she was excited to watch Boyd, who earlier this season shut out Kaukauna.
“I really love it,” she said of facing Boyd. “I like seeing the different pitches. Maddie has a really good rise and a good change.”
Kimberly and Kaukauna are the only FVA teams with one league loss, but North visits Kaukauna on Tuesday. With the quality of teams in the FVA it’ll be difficult for any team to run the table, so Monday’s sweep is huge.
“This was a really big win for us and hopefully we can keep it going and win the title,” Kleist said. “It certainly boosts our morale and should help us in upcoming games.”
FVA Standings as of May 5
Fond du Lac…..…0-7
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay