Toppers travel to No. 1 Oakfield Tuesday

The Catholic Central softball squad poses with its regional championship plaque Friday at Congress Field in Burlington. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

BURLINGTON – Sydney Robson isn’t her class Valedictorian by accident.

Just ask the Randolph Rockets softball team.

The Catholic Central senior pitcher not only is one of the most talented players in the state, but her intelligence also shined in a WIAA Division 5 regional championship Friday at Congress Field in Burlington.

Robson did her homework, jotting down the numbers of the most dangerous hitters on her wrist, and it paid off.

After allowing two hits and an unearned run in the first inning, the dual-threat star settled down to allow one hit over the next four, and the Lady Toppers flourished at the plate in an 11-1, five-inning victory.

The strong performance on the mound came just hours before her high school graduation party and ceremony, so Robson, who recently moved to Burlington from Silver Lake, was in good spirits after the game.

Sydney Robson is hitting over .600 this season and didn’t allow a run in conference play. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

“It feels really, really good,” Robson said. “I knew they were a really good hitting team before the game, and I figured out what batters I needed to know. I wrote down their batter with the most home runs, batting average, triples and doubles. I keep an eye on that, so I know who to watch out for.”

“We got off to a little bit of a rocky start, but eventually we all just felt their pitcher and were able to get going.”

“It was a smart pitching performance,” Catholic Central coach Bill Greskiw said. “She was fooling them, hitting her spots and mixing it up. Sydney is just a really good ball player. She can do it all and play anywhere.”

Catholic Central stormed back with three runs in the third, four in the fourth and four more in the fifth to emphatically snatch its second regional title in three years.

Now, the Toppers get a chance at revenge at top-seeded Oakfield on Tuesday. Oakfield knocked off Central in 2016 in a sectional semifinal in Oakfield.

Catholic Central (21-4) is ranked third in the state in Division 5, while Oakfield (21-4) is No. 6.

The Toppers benefited from four walks and were hit by four pitches.

Anne Fabiani had two hits and five RBIs, while Robson belted a two-run triple deep off the center-field fence, which is relatively deep at 235 feet, and added an RBI single.

On the mound, Robson fanned nine batters. She tossed a steady diet of curve balls after she wasn’t getting many strike calls on the corners.

Katie Goethal was 2-for-3, and Christina Paleka was 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Erin Schwenn and Laine Dirksmeyer each added hits.

“The bottom of the batting order, Goethal, Morgan Dietzel and Emme Weis, really got us going in the third,” said Greskiw. “The contributions came from the entire team.”

“They gave us a few things with the walks and hit batters. There were also wild pitches. Sometimes, one hit sparks the fire.”

For Greskiw, Oakfield will be a huge challenge, as their entire team can hit well.

Greskiw thinks the Toppers have what it takes to win, even though Oakfield has ended the Toppers’ season several times. He said Oakfield will have much tougher pitching than Randolph.

“There’s such a tradition up there, and the whole town supports them,” Greskiw said. “You have to go up there and play your absolute best game. We put it in Sydney’s hands, and hopefully we can keep it close. Once we get the timing down of their pitcher, we can start putting the ball in play. That’s all we need.”

For Robson, who was in her first season as the ace of the staff when Oakfield cut the Toppers’ season short two years ago, it’s payback time.

“Sophomore year all over again,” Robson said. “We have a different team, and we’re all a little more sure of ourselves this year. It’s going to take hitting for sure. If we hit and field like I know we can, we’ll be solid.”