Homestead softball team ends Germantown's 51-game North Shore Conference win streak
WIAA tourney starts this week
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 for nearly four years.
That is, until May 21 at Thiensville Park, as sophomore hurler Allie Beckers pitched the game of her life, scattering three hits, with three strikeouts and two walks. 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 (boys) basketball has been winning forever.
"This is something."
And although the Highlanders have not beaten Germantown in a North Shore Conference 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 started the week 12-7 overall.
Homestead, the third seed in the WIAA Germantown sectional bracket, hosted Milwaukee Tech in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 27. If the Highlanders advanced, they will likely host North Shore rival Whitefish Bay in a regional final on Thursday, May 29 (4 p.m. TBA). The Highlanders have lost to the Blue Dukes twice this season.
The sectional semifinals are Tuesday, June 3, with the sectional final on Thursday, June 5, at Germantown.
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 overall with the loss.
Germantown co-coach Kurt Raguse could be heard saying as the team prepared to do its post-game 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 double play 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.
The victory was a perfect dovetail for Homestead as 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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