Burlington High School

A complete victory

Burlington’s Morgan Klein slides into home plate to score a run on a wild pitch in Tuesday’s victory over Wilmot at Burlington High School. Klein also picked up the victory on the mound for the Demons. (Photo by Mike Ramczyk)

BHS softball team features pitching, defense against rival Panthers

By Mike Ramczyk


Coach Val Auseth is simply happy to be back.

After a transitional first year as Burlington varsity softball head coach in 2019, the high school sports world flipped on its head in 2020 when a government-mandated shutdown forced the cancellation of the spring sports season.

Seniors Gracie Peterson, Natalie Weithaus, Teagan Schmalfeldt and Gwen Kosirog lost their final high school seasons in 2020.

Peterson is playing softball at Division 1 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay right now.

“It’s tough right now, with only three returning varsity players,” Auseth said after Tuesday’s 5-1 victory at Burlington High School. “It makes it very challenging. They’re stepping up, and they’re good leaders. It’s a whole new game for our sophomores. It was tough to lose last season. We would’ve had some great leadership on that team.

“Nobody knows who anybody has this season. We’re missing some girls because of losing last season, and we’re out early this year. Some girls committed to volleyball. Our state tournament is June 28.”

So after all the dust settled, and it was time to open the season Tuesday against Wilmot, a traditional area power, the Lady Demons looked like they’ve been playing together for years.

They took a 2-1 lead after the first inning and put up a three-run fifth to seal the deal against one of the best pitchers in the conference, senior Anna Wischnowski.

Burlington’s ace, Morgan Klein, was up for the challenge.

She struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter and allowed four hits.

Auseth said strong defense and aggressive baserunning sparked the three-run fifth, and Brianna Morris’ at-bat to start the frame helped.

Morris fouled off several pitches and finally smashed a base hit.

“Our girls were a little nervous,” Auseth said. “They pulled it together after making a few errors. I told the girls we have to win every inning, and they came out and did that. We played a great game. Brianna Morris had a great at-bat, and she ended up getting a base hit. We had a few substitutions and a stolen base here and there. And Kayla Warner did a great job running on Kenna’s bunt single.”

In the fifth, Kenna perfectly placed a bunt single over the third baseman’s head, and Alexa Burinda added a deep sacrifice fly to left field.

As for Klein, who went 2-for-2 to help her cause, she was dynamite on the mound.

“Unstoppable,” Auseth said of Klein. “She had a great game. She is so confident, so strong out there. Just a great team leader. She showed that today on the field.”

Burlington has three seniors and four juniors this year.

Jessica Merman, Burinda and Cheyenne Hammiller are the team’s three seniors.

Klein will do most of the pitching, with Megan Baumeister behind the plate.

Hammiller was at first base Tuesday, with Molly Berezowitz at second, Abi Alan at shortstop and Burinda at third.

Morris and Warner, a freshman, played left field, Kornely held down center and Tasha Burinda made a nice catch on a fly ball in right field.

Finally, junior Mackenzie Plitzuweit came in as a pinch-hitter Tuesday.

A 1-0 record is a desirable start to the 2021 campaign, and this year softball will do two-game series just like the baseball guys.

So on Friday, the Demons travel to Wilmot.

“To be honest, we’re just thrilled to be out here playing,” Auseth said. “It was so great to talk to the umpires and the other coaches, and seeing our fans out here again. Right now, we’re just taking it one game at a time. We’re going to cherish every game we get.”

Junior Kendra Baumeister is out on quarantine right now, but she’ll be back with the team Friday.

For additional Burlington area high school sports see the April 29 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.

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