Pitcher Klein follows in mother’s state footsteps

Josie Klein enjoyed a dominant season on the mound. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


By Andrew Horschak

Sports Correspondent

Surprisingly, there has been no smack talk in the Klein household in recent weeks.

“No, it’s been pretty civil,” Josie Klein said with a chuckle.

After leading her team to a runner-up finish in the WIAA Division I State Tournament, the recent Burlington graduate and standout pitcher just missed on becoming the second state softball champion in the family.

Her mother, Candee (Fiebelkorn) Klein, was a junior center fielder on the 1984 Burlington team that won the WIAA Class A state crown. The Demons, coached by George Barry, capped a championship season with a 9-8 victory over Watertown in the title game at the Saratoga Complex in Waukesha.

That begs the question.

Who would win in a matchup between the 2018 Demons and the 1984 Demons?

“Softball has obviously evolved so much since then,” Josie Klein said, “so I’m thinking that we would win.”

Not so fast, kid.

“Definitely, the girls would win now,” Candee Klein said. “If we were all their age again – then I think it might be a little closer than she thinks.”

Candee Klein did acknowledge that high school softball has changed a little bit in the last 30-plus years.

“They practice so much more,” she said. “We had our hour-and-a-half, two-hour practice after school. We had no summer travel. I think I played travel just a little bit at the end of my career. And, it was just local. We went to Germantown and a little bit in Illinois.

“With all of the muscle memory and things you need to be a great player … they just have that now. That’s an advantage.”

When the Demons made their fourth WIAA State Tournament in school history recently, Candee Klein wasn’t the only spectator in Madison with state tourney experience.

Lisa (Robers) Stevens, a member of the 1984 team, was also in attendance cheering on the Demons.

“She is the biggest fan,” Candee Klein said, noting that other former teammates tuned in on Fox Sports Wisconsin. “Every time I see her in town, from the time we won in high school to now, she brings it up. It was a great experience for her, and all of us really.”

As a parent and an alum, the 2018 season was one to savor.

“It was very exciting,” Candee Klein said. “The girls played awesome. Just the whole second half of the season they really came together and played really well and fought hard to win quite a few games at the end. That’s nice because you know that they’re playing together then.”