Klein excited about deep Demons squad

Josie Klein slides safely into home for a run Monday night. Klein has dominated on the mound this season. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk


And Jason Arndt


After opening the season with postponement after snow-out after rain-out, the Burlington softball team finally played some games last week.

And the Lady Demons played like they were itching to strut their stuff, with a sweep of Elkhorn and a dominant victory over Southern Lakes Conference powerhouse Westosha Central a few weeks ago.

The 6-1 victory over Westosha April 13 was the Demons’ first over the Falcons since rejoining the SLC in 2009.

Burlington built a 7-2 overall and 5-0 SLC mark before a true test came to town Monday – the defending Division 1 runner-up Wilmot Panthers.

The Panthers, fresh off an emotional rivalry victory over Westosha, flooded Burlington pitcher Josie Klein with seven runs in the first two innings and held on for a 10-6 victory in a battle of SLC unbeatens.

The Panthers improved to 7-0 in the SLC while the Demons dropped to 5-1.

After the game, Burlington coach Gary Caliva said he believes Burlington is every bit as good as Wilmot, the conference favorite, and he anticipates the two will battle for the SLC crown.

As for Monday, he said the girls were a bit nervous for the big game.

“I think Josie was just a little amped at the beginning and had a little too much adrenaline, but settled down after about the second inning,” Caliva said.

Klein, a senior pitcher, walked three and struck out one. Wilmot built a 10-3 lead after four innings.

“Maybe we were a little nervous,” Klein said. “But after the first inning, everything just shakes off and you play ball.”

“I thought we were going to pull it out. We fought back, we got some more runs and we did what we had to do. Next time, we’ll get them.”

Wilmot had five players with multi-hit games.

Anna Wischnowski went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored while Hayli Richards belted a two-run home run to finish 1-for-4.

Alex Naber had an RBI single in the fifth to cut the lead to 10-5.

Then, in the seventh, Klein helped her own cause with a long, fly ball off the fence that scored Jaina Westphal.

With runners on the corners, Wischnowski, Wilmot’s freshman pitching phenom, came in to relieve Madi Zerr, who hit a batter after giving up Klein’s double.

Wischnowski recorded the last two outs, including an Ashley Schmalfeldt groundout to end the game.

Klein and Bridi Allen each finished 2-for-3 for Burlington, while Allen added two RBIs.

The loss doesn’t diminish Burlington’s hot start.

Klein has been pitching well for the 7-3 Demons.

She’s excited about the depth of her squad.

“The best part is everyone is so energetic, and it’s really help us keep us going,” Klein said. “The defense has been strong.”

“I think we’re going to continue to win because we’re deep. We have so many players, and they all contribute. We’re strong, and we never give up.”

Wilmot coach Jenny Jacobson calms down pitcher Madi Zerr Monday at Burlington. On Tuesday, Wilmot lost, 16-14, to rival Westosha. Now, both the Panthers and Demons have one SLC loss. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


Demons sweep Elkhorn

On April 26 in Burlington, the Elks and Demons went to extra innings tied at 0-0.

With two outs in the ninth, Burlington got three straight hits, including Kya Kafar’s walk-off winner.

Kafar went 2-for-4 to lead the offensive charge.

On the mound, Klein pitched all nine innings, striking out nine and walking three.

Caliva asked Klein if she was too tired to pitch in game two, but she was ready.

The workhorse fired her second consecutive shutout in a 6-0 victory behind 14 Demon hits.

Gracie Peterson, Klein and Allen each had two hits.

Peterson knocked two doubles, and Klein drove in two runs.

On April 25 at Kenosha Bradford, Burlington fell, 11-1.

The day before, Burlington jumped out to a 6-1 lead and held on for a 6-4 win at Waterford.

On April 23, Kafar fired a no-hitter in a 13-0 rout of Racine St. Cat’s.