Hortonville tops Kimberly to clinch share of FVA crown

Hortonville’s victory over Kimberly clinched a share of the FVA title for Hortonville softball (20-3 overall) in its first year in the Fox Valley Association.

Hortonville’s victory over Kimberly clinched a share of the FVA title for Hortonville softball (20-3 overall) in its first year in the Fox Valley Association.

A big lead coupled with a pitcher of Sammi Sullivan’s ability is usually a solid recipe for success.

You can now call it a championship recipe as well.

Hortonville got standout play from both areas as well as its defense in the Polar Bears’ 13-3 six-inning victory over Kimberly in a Fox Valley Association regular-season finale Thursday at Sunset Park.

The victory clinched a share of the FVA title for Hortonville (20-3 overall) in its first year in the league. The Polar Bears and Kaukauna finished 16-2 in the league and also split their season series.

Sullivan, Hortonville’s dominant junior hurler, was sensational, striking out 11 and scattering six hits. She said the Polar Bears were looking forward to playing in the FVA this season after years in the Bay Conference.

“Last year we were really excited that we were going to be in the FVA,” Sullivan said. “And it’s just been really fun. We’ve been working hard to prove ourselves because we’ve kind of been the underdogs.”

Hortonville gave Sullivan plenty of help at the plate. Lexy Campshure smacked a solo home run in the first inning and the Polar Bears exploded for seven runs in the second inning for an 8-1 lead before fans had a chance to hit the concession stand.

“(The big lead) helps out a lot because then it takes pressure off me,” Sullivan said. “And my girls have been working really hard at hitting, so it’s nice to see that it pays off.”

Ally Fox had a two-run single and Olivia Baehman and Campshure also had RBI singles in the inning. Kimberly didn’t help itself and committed two errors that prolonged the inning and left Papermakers coach Bill Weyers looking for answers.

“We just didn’t make the plays behind (starting pitcher Summer Zachow) in that inning and that just hurt us,” Weyers said. “We can’t give a quality team like that six or seven outs in an inning.”

Hortonville added two more runs in the third with Randi Morack scoring on a wild pitch and Jordyn Brennan reaching home on a passed ball. The Polar Bears capped their scoring with three runs in the sixth, with freshman Calista Schmidt coming off the bench to smack a solo home run.

“Everything came together tonight and you’re going to have nights like that and it just happened to be against a real good Kimberly team,” Hortonville co-coach Jeff Lebeck said. “Give them credit for a great season. That’s a solid program and coach Weyers does a great job over there. But everything just fell for us tonight.”

Brennan was 4-for-4 with two runs scored for Hortonville, which also received a 4-for-5 performance from Fox. Megan Hart was 3-for-4 for the Polar Bears, who collected 18 hits.

“We do have a little pop up and down the lineup,” Lebeck said. “We don’t hit a whole lot of home runs but we kind of pride ourselves on putting the bat on the ball and not trying to strike out too much. It puts pressure on the defense and it makes them makes plays and you saw tonight, we put the ball in play and we got some runs across the plate.”

Megan Kleist had a solo home run in the fifth inning for Kimberly. Kam Kroner was 2-for-3.

Hortonville reached the state semifinals last season but Lebeck wants his players to concentrate on what’s in front of them.

“You see it in March Madness all the time where some of the top teams get beat,” he said. “We take it one game at a time. We’re going to go back to work tomorrow and we get ready for whomever we’re going to play (first) in the (postseason).”













WP: Sammi Sullivan. LP: Summer Zachow. Leading hitters: Jordyn Brennan H 4×4, 2B, 2 runs; Ally Fox H 4×5, 2B; Lexy Campshure H 2×5, HR, 2 runs; Megan Hart H 3×4, 2B; Calista Schmidt H HR; Taylor Allen H 2 runs; Olivia Baehman H 2 runs; Megan Kleist K HR, 2 runs; Abby Menting K 2B; Carleigh Johnson K 2B; Kam Kroner K 2×3.

— Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or; on Twitter @PCRicardo

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