Germantown gets defensive in snagging title
Renard's pitching, comeback catch keys in win
Germantown - Germantown softball pitcher Lauren Renard's first instinct Monday afternoon at Thiensville Village Park was to save herself.
Homestead's Taylor Levin had just hit a screaming line drive right back at her with none out and a runner on first in the seventh inning while the Warhawks were nursing a 2-1 lead in their North Shore Conference championship showdown with the Highlanders.
Renard defensively stuck up her glove and snagged the ball cleanly.
Doubling off runner
Then she obeyed her second instinct and carefully threw the ball back to first to easily double up Hannah Young. And two batters later, when Renard induced a fly out to end the game, the Warhawks had their second consecutive outright league championship.
"My first thought was to protect my face," chuckled a happy Renard afterward of the line drive. "So I put my glove up. We knew this would be a tough game and we wanted the title outright, we didn't want to share it."
Homestead (12-2 in the North Shore and 16-3 overall) needed the win to pull into a tie for the title with the Warhawks, who finished the North Shore season unbeaten at 14-0 (18-4 overall).
Veteran Homestead coach Dave Keel saw Renard's play as indicative of how the whole afternoon went.
"They (the Warhawks) were making nice plays all day," he said, "while we didn't quite make enough of them."
"This is just very gratifying," said Warhawks co-coach Amy Barbiaux. "We know that Homestead is a great team and that we would have to work hard to get this done. They were our target since the start of the season."
The Warhawks had also downed the Highlanders, 5-4, on May 1.
Homestead had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Rachel Wiedenhoeft.
The Highlanders had a chance to expand their lead in the third with a runner on second with two out when Maggi Lampen hit a sharp single to right.
Keel sent the runner home but Warhawks rightfielder Felicia Kons came up throwing and hit catcher Kelsey Smith with a perfect strike to home. The runner never had a chance, as Smith blocked the plate and tagged her for the third out of the inning.
"It's just her first year on varsity," said Barbiaux of Kons. "The throw was right on the money and Kelsey (Smith) was in the perfect spot (to block the plate)."
Tying on defensive miscue
The Warhawks would use that defensive gem to their advantage in the fourth. Addy Green was walked by Highlanders pitcher Rachel Behnken with one out.
Later with two runners on, Kons hit a hard chopper on the infield. The rushed throw to first was in time for the out but was not held onto, as Green scored the tying run.
Smith then gave the Warhawks the lead for good with an RBI single.
"We just didn't make enough heads-up plays on the infield tonight," said Keel.
Renard then put down nine in a row before the seventh inning fireworks.
"Lauren did a great job of having them put the ball in play and then we made the plays behind her," Barbiaux said.
Renard finished with three strikeouts and one walk while scattering eight hits. Rachel Behnken had seven strikeouts with just one walk and allowed just five hits.
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