Off and swinging

Millard West Softball team begins their season on the right track


Anna Burton

With her knees bent and her glove open and facing down, sophomore Kaitlyn Fisher prepares to field the ball. The Wildcats defeated Papillion-La Vista South 13-5 on Aug 19. “Defensively, I think that we’ve really started to settle into our positions and we’re playing really solid,” Fisher said. “We’ve had big moments of adversity already this season that we’ve had to overcome and I really think that it’s pushed us all to become better players out there.”

Camille O'Neill, Sports Director

The varsity softball team has gotten off to a hot start this season, going 7-2 in its first nine games with notable wins  against preseason Class A No. 1 Lincoln Southwest and preseason Class A No. 7 Papillion-La Vista South.

Coaches are crediting the practice and preparation the team went through in the offseason for its early success. During the summer, the girls worked out Monday through Thursday, and practiced fielding from 8 am to 10 am every day 

“So far this season we have played well as a team,” head coach Don Brummer said. “Everybody knows their roles, and there is a long way to go, but we are off to a good start.”

The Wildcats started their season 7-0, including the notable victories against Papillion- La Vista South (twice) and Lincoln Southwest. The Wildcats also captured the Bellevue East Invitational title after outslugging North Platte 8-7 and posting convincing wins over Blair and Omaha Burke.

Perhaps the most impressive win came when the Wildcats traveled to Lincoln to take on Lincoln Southwest. The game went back and forth for most of the contest. In the fifth inning, with the game tied, freshman Caitlyn Semple bunted to move Masyn Bunnell to third base, and then senior Riley Kramolisch hit a single to put the Wildcats in front by the final margin, 3-2. 

“I wasn’t hitting very well, so my strategy was to try to move the runner,” Semple said. “I successfully did that by bunting, and then Riley hit the game winner. It was nice to make a contribution offensively.” 

Two days later, Millard West returned home to face Omaha Bryan. Millard West led 2-0 after the first inning, and then they scored 10 runs in the third inning to win by mercy rule, 12-0.

Sophomore starting pitcher Jackie Johnson tossed a perfect game for the Wildcats, retiring all nine batters she faced in three innings. Johnson threw 35 pitches in total, 27 of them being strikes. This was Johnson’s first perfect game in her high school career. 

The Wildcats knew they would need to score ten runs in the third inning to ensure Johnson’s perfect game. All nine batters came to the plate in the third inning. Everyone made a contribution by reaching base and scoring a run. 

“I was hoping we would score to finish the game when we got to the dugout,” Johnson said. “I’m really grateful for my team backing me up and scoring runs to make it possible.”

The team’s seven-game winning streak came to an end as the Wildcats fell to Millard North 13-5 at the Marian Invite on Saturday, Aug. 28. The Wildcats finished the tournament with a 1-2 record, defeating Papillion-La Vista South 18-3 and losing to Papillion-La Vista 8-3. 

The Wildcats have high hopes for the rest of the season. They hope to make it back to the state tournament this year after missing it in 2020. The team is back in action on Thursday, Sep. 2 at home against Burke.