Brookfield Central sophomore pitcher Crystal Sicard sparked the Lancers to a sweep of the crosstown Brookfield East Spartans, who continued to have problems with big innings.
Central won, 13-3, on April 22 at home and, 12-1, the next day at East. Sicard fanned 10 hitters and tossed a 2-hitter in the first game and then fanned 11 and threw a 3-hitter the next night.
Central coach Doug Lang raved about the pitching in the Greater Metro Conference, in general, and Sicard, in particular.
"I don't know another league in this state that has three pitchers like Rose (Dentice, Divine Savior Holy Angels), the gal from (Menomonee) Falls (Kelly Berglund) and Crystal.
"It is such an outrageous situation that we only have two pitchers who can be all-conference. (Sicard) missed by one vote to be second team all-conference (last year), and it's going to happen again to one of them. She is also one of our leaders and we are very, very happy with her."
The games were the first for both teams coming off spring break.
"It's good for our kids to get it going," Lange said. "It's tough to play Brookfield East, back-to-back, especially with one of our former coaches (Ashley Webber) as their head coach. For our seniors, it's a lot of feelings that way. It's two big wins."
One of those seniors was shortstop Angie Chartier, who had a big series.
In the first game, she walked twice, doubled and drove in two runs. The second time around, she homered, singled three times, scored three times and drove in three runs.
"She is so talented," Lange said. "She will be a 4-year letter winner; she was the starting second baseman on a conference championship team. Angie doesn't know how good she is."
Chartier has been feeling it at the plate lately.
"For sure, I had a lot of confidence," she said. "I think that was the big difference. Coach told us to go after first strike. So I went after my first strike — home run. That's how it worked out for me."
Although the Lancers are a contender this season, and the Spartans are a younger squad, Chartier said the Lancers were not overconfident going into the games.
"It always is (a battle), no matter who is better ranked," she said. "The first game we played them yesterday (April 22), we had no idea if we were better or they were better. No matter (what the situation), it always feels good to beat your No. 1 rival."
The Spartans have been struggling this season with big innings by their opponents. They will be rolling along and suddenly the pitching or fielding or both falls apart.
In the first game against Central, East was winning, 2-1, when the Lancers exploded for 12 runs in the fourth inning. East walked eight batters and allowed four hits, three in the infield.
Emma Megal and Megan Foley both homered for the Spartans, who walked 13, but only allowed eight hits.
The second game, the Lancers jumped on East for five runs in the first inning, and the Spartans couldn't recover.
"It's hard to get your momentum back when you have a big inning like that," Webber said. "We have to avoid the big inning. When we make a mistake, we need to get ticked off and pushed ourselves hard. We have to make sure we know where to go with ball. We have to refocus as individuals, refocus as a team."
Webber did see a bright spot.
"We're swinging the bat, which isn't easy to do when they (Central) come up with runs in the first inning," she said. "They (the Spartans) have character. That's what I look for — their attitude, their perseverance."
The Spartans have played 11 games already (3-8), while Central has played five, winning four of them.
"We're on a roll right now," Sicard said. "I feel good right now. I feel like my season is starting off well. I know have backup behind me, so I feel confident with that."
Which isn't good for the rest of the conference.
EAST'S OTHER GAMES
Thursday, April 24
Menomonee Falls 13, East 2: The big inning hurt the Spartans again, as Menomonee Falls scored nine runs in the third inning to turn a 2-0 game into a rout. Kelly Berglund doubled and drove in three runs and pitched the first four innings for the win. Holly Knight (2 IP, BB, K) and Alyssa Boltik (2 IP, 9 BB, 3 K).
Saturday, April 26
Nicolet won, 10-5, 19-13: A 7-run second inning put the first game out of reach, but the Spartans were only outhit 12-9. Emma Megal had two hits and two RBIs, and Holly Knight singled, doubled, scored a run and drove one in.
In the second game, Megal had three hits, including a homer, three runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases. Megan Foley had three hits, including a homer, a double, two runs and four 4 RBIs.
Sydney Jahnke, Megan Roidt and Alyssa Boltik each had two hits, and Erin Andrews scored three times.
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