Homestead girls softball coach Dave Keel knows something about long winning streaks.
After all, his football squad, which he also coaches, has dominated the North Shore Conference and won four state titles in the last 15 years.
But he and his Highlander softball team have been on the wrong side of an imposing streak by powerful neighbor Germantown that has stretched for close to four years.
That was until Wednesday afternoon at Thiensville Park, as sophomore hurler Allie Beckers pitched the game of her life, scattering three hits, with three strikeouts and two walks, as Homestead ended the Warhawks 51-game North Shore Conference win streak in a 4-1 decision.
"They're always a good team, very well-coached. You have to play well to beat them and we did today," said Keel. "It's really something about streaks in this conference. We had that run in football (in the 2000s), Port was unstoppable in wrestling until this year and Germantown (bioys) basketball has been winning forever.
"This is something."
And although the Highlanders have not beaten Germantown in a North Shore Cionference game since 2010, they did beat the Warhawks in a WIAA sectional contest in 2011.
With the win, the Highlanders concluded their regular season at 10-4 in the North Shore Conference, currently good for third. They are 12-7 overall. Meanwhile, Germantown, which clinched its fourth straight NSC title with a doubleheader sweep of Port on Monday, May 19, fell to 12-1 in league and 14-8 overasll.
The Warhawks will conclude their regular season on Wednesday at Nicolet.
Germantown co-coach Kurt Raguse could be heard saying as the team prepared to huddle. "If you have earplugs, you might want to wear them." He then went on to lament the team's lack of aggressiveness at the plate.
But a lot of that had to do with Beckers.
After being staked to a 2-0 lead in the first courtesy of a Michaela Rusch double that scored both Hannah Behnken (lead-off double) and Megan Manning (follow-up single), she surrendered an RBI groundout to Germantown's Katey Schultz in the second.
But a linedrive 4-6 doubleplay ended the Germantown threat, and after that Beckers was in complete control. She allowed only four more baserunners after that (two hits and a walk) and in three of those four cases, there were two outs when the runner got on.
"Allie did an excellent job of changing speeds and hitting her locations," said Keel. "She really made them hit her pitches."
Keel noted that the start of the game, with three straight hits in a row off Germantown starter Jordan Woods, was critical.
"It was great tio get some momentum and confidence," he said. "We hit a couple of rockets there."
Beckers picked up some additional cushion in the fifth inning on RBI singles by Julia Warshauer and Kelly Kasper.
She gave up a lead-off walk in the seventh but a pop-out, fielder's choice and groundout ended the game.
Germantown's other co-coach Amy Barbiaux noted that it was difficult to get anything going with as few baserunners as the team had.
"Only three hits, you're not going to do much with that," she said.
The victory was a perfect dovetail for the Highlanders as their senior day activities followed the game. Keel gave a glowing career summary for first baseman Sydney Beckers, the only senior on the team this year.
Then he and everyone on the team indulged in some cake and celebrated the breaking of a streak, and perhaps the start of a new one.
"It was a very nice win," Keel said. "We played well. We had very good pitching, played very good defense and got some really timely hitting."
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