Hailey Blount, Brianna Witter help Muskego to record-setting season
Warrior duo makes NOW All-Suburban team
From beginning to end, the 2014 season was a memorable one for the Muskego softball team.
The Warriors won 12 of their first 13 games, and then later put together a 13-game winning streak en route to a 25-4 finish, topping the school record for victories by five games.
Muskego captured the Classic 8 Conference championship with a 12-2 mark, defeating Waukesha North 2-0 in the final contest to win the title by one game over the North Stars.
The offense was powerful, setting team marks for runs scored, hits, doubles, home runs, team batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average.
The pitching was solid, too, as Muskego held opponents to two runs or less in 20 games.
Witter, Blount led way
Numerous players contributed to the attack, but one of the leaders was senior Brianna Witter, who hit .462, including .489 in the conference, with 15 extra-base hits. Witter drove in 50 runs and scored 31 runs.
The pitching leader was fellow senior Hailey Blount, who went 24-3. Blount posted eight shutouts and an earned-run average of 1.25 while striking out 145 hitters.
For their play in boosting the Warriors to new heights this season, Witter and Blount are on the 2014 NOW Newspapers All-Suburban team.
Blount is also Muskego's most valuable player, and Witter received the offensive player of the year award from her teammates.
Head coach John Rosenberg said both players enjoyed spectacular seasons.
"Hailey has the ability to change speeds and has good location," Rosenberg said of Blount, who boasts a 48-13 career record with an overall ERA of 1.40. "She works well with (catcher) Delaney O'Keefe. She gets about five to seven strikeouts per game but comes up with 12 to 13 groundouts because of her drop ball. No one hits the ball hard off her."
Blount Player of the Year
Blount, who was named the Classic 8 Player of the Year, takes to the mound with a definite plan in mind.
"I want to get ahead in the count; then I can throw what I want to throw," she said. "I want to put the batter in a hole. I have a fastball, curve, changeup and drop ball, but the curve and drop are my favorites."
She has plenty of experience, having played softball since age 10. She spent four years on the Muskego varsity team and was the top Warrior starter for the past three seasons.
No Muskego fan will soon forget her performance in the Classic 8 finale on May 30. Because of rainouts, the Warriors had to play Waukesha North in the conclusion of a suspended game, then in a regular contest.
Muskego lost the first game 10-9, which created a tie atop the conference. The next game was for the outright title, and Blount was brilliant in that contest, not only pitching a six-hit shutout but lining a solo home run in the 2-0 victory.
As strong as she was on the mound, Blount was also a solid hitter, batting .351 with 19 runs batted in for the season.
Witter hit in the clutch
The offense, though, was paced by Witter, who compiled 50 RBIs despite missing the first six games with an ankle problem.
"She was phenomenal for us," Rosenberg said of his cleanup hitter. "The other kids set the table for her, and she was a clutch hitter. She hits with power, with five home runs, but the biggest thing is when we needed her to come up with a big hit, she did."
Witter, who was also on the Muskego varsity all four years, accepted the responsibility that comes with the cleanup spot.
"I just wanted to get my favorite pitch and try to hit it up the middle," she said. "A coach once told me to 'buzz the tower,' that is, hit it over the pitcher's head."
Witter, who was also named a third-team all-state outfielder this season and came up with 22 putouts and one assist to go with just one error.
Both Blount and Witter enjoyed playing their senior seasons on such a special team.
"We had great team chemistry," Blount said. "We were all close, and we had the same goals. We played as a team, and we picked each other up, which is why we were successful."
Witter added, "We worked together and we had fun together. Coach Rose made practice fun with his jokes and stories."
Witter to Tampa
Now both are setting their sights on colleges. Witter accepted a scholarship to attend and play for the University of Tampa, an NCAA Division II school, while Blount is headed to the University of Wisconsin and may try to walk onto the softball team.
"I liked the (Tampa) campus," said Witter, who plans to major in biology. "I was advised to go somewhere that, even if I got hurt, I would still want to be there. I would not just be going for the sport."
Blount plans to major in nursing and is keeping her options open as far as softball at Wisconsin.
"I'm not ready to give up the game I love," she said.
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