“Armed and Dangerous”
By Coach Steve Lyga

It’s time for softball again at Cochrane-Fountain City,
2010 softball is rolling with our season’s theme.
“Armed and Dangerous” seems to describe these gals,
our goal is to make this “the season of dreams“.

There are only two seniors on this softball squad,
they’re excited to lead us with a simple, yet focused plan.
Nichole Dahl and Erica Willadsen are our team captains,
we’re hoping they take us,to softball’s “promised land“.

Our team is “armed” because of superior pitching,
we’re “dangerous”, with a knack for hitting the ball.
We have a large number of starters returning,
and other competitors who will try to answer the call!

We started the season with 32 young ladies,
all competing for varsity and j. v. playing time.
We are now three full weeks into the season,
and we still have high numbers with twenty-nine.

Katie McFarlin is once again back on the softball staff,
former softballer,Chelsea Rosenow is excited to get a call
Her expertise is at the catcher and outfield positions,
she’s a spark plug and is giving her time to coach softball

We have a number of starters back from last year’s team,
which lost a heartbreaker to Belmont in the sectional final game.
Our goal is to stay focused and redeem our school’s pride,
& hopefully get the opportunity not to let it turn out the same.

Our infield returns Nichole Dahl at the pitcher position,
Kelly McCamley and Becca Bagniewski are playing the lines.
Kate Willadsen will line up behind the plate once again,
Kayla Palkowski and Erica Willadsen will play the middle just fine.

Sadie Cieminski, Bethany Schmitt, and Holly White,
all saw some action with the 2009 softball squad.
Each will be pushed to the limit in the outfield positions,
making more defensive plays will be their main job.

I refer to these athletes as the “Diamond Girls”,
but they are truly made up of gold and silver as well.
We came out and took control over the Rivermen early,
seeming to be in mid-season form, as far as I could tell.

Nicki Dahl struck out 8 Rivermen in seven innings,
we committed 2 errors, but solid defense was really the key
The Lady Pirates scattered eleven offensive hits,
each of the 15 girls who suited, added to the 10-0 victory.

Erica Willadsen, Nichole Dahl and Katie Krueger,
each accumulated two hits for the “Lady Pirate Nine“.
Freshman newcomer, Laura Kramer pounded out a triple,
all of the Pirates hit balls with authority this time.

Tuesdays’ Alma Center Lincoln game had to be postponed,
a total of 7 C-FC starters competing at state in FBLA.
This spring’s weather has been utterly fantastic,
we really wish we would be playing a game today.

The Pirates traveled to B-T to take on the Wildcats,
the weather was sunny, but as windy as could be.
We blasted out 13 hits in the 16 to 2 win,
Paige Kriesel pitched two solid innings in relief of Nicki.

Dez Earney and Holly White each hammered a triple,
Kate Willadsen and Becca Bagniewski doubled off the wall.
The starting defense had a real solid performance,
but the reserves recorded 3 of the 4 C-FC errors in all.

Let’s get it rolling and take the Dairyland by storm,
we’re already two solid victories towards our goal.
The defense has to step up a bit more this season,
a forty-three foot pitching distance may take a toll.

Melrose-Mindoro is usually a solid team,
we’ll have to play our best to become three and 0.
We took advantage of eight “pony” errors,
a punishing nine to three victory never gets old.

Wow! We’re undefeated at three wins and no defeats,
this dream of ours really seems to have a chance.
If we can keep playing this game as we should,
eventually we could end up at the “big dance“!

Our first home game was Immanuel and we came out flat,
maybe it was the music, but we weren’t quite in sync.
Five errors by the normally sure-handed Pirate defense,
our early “perfect season” hopes were gone in a blink.

Our offense was cursed with pop outs and flys,
making the game too easy for the Lancer defense to fail.
We ended up losing to Eau Claire by a 5-1 deficit,
we need to get some serious wind back in our sail.

The E-S game traditionally turns out to be a mismatch,
we decided to rest Nicki, her forearm was a bit sore.
The Pirates ended up clearing the bench in inning number 2,
another Pirate blowout win; 18-2 was the score.

All of the Lady Pirates saw success against the Cards,
a total of 16 hits were sent sailing against “big red“.
Four of C-FC’s pitchers saw action tonight,
as we sent batters from Eleva-Strum early to bed.

This game with the Indees was circled on our calendar,
last season, I-G stunned us with a 10 inning defeat.
We came out of the gates playing intense and in control,
defensive expectations surpassed the sweltering heat.

I had an opportunity to yell out the phrase, “See Ya!”,
as Katie Krueger sent the softball …. “yard”.
The ball was crushed over the left field wall,
it seemed like all of C-FC’s athletes hit the ball hard.

The C-FC defense again played exceptionally well,
no Pirate errors were committed in this game.
We pulled out a seven to one (7 to 1) C-FC victory,
the Pirate hitters put the Indees to shame!

We jumped out early in this battle for the Dairyland lead,
against Whitehall we were attacking and bunting the ball.
We accumulated six hits in the first three innings,
a total of five runs were scored in all.

What actually should have probably been a blow out win,
we allowed the Norsemen to keep hanging around.
Too many Pirate base running mistakes,
but some inner strength and drive we finally found.

Becca Bagniewski launched a line-drive homerun,
over C-FC’s 200 foot centerfield wall.
We ended with a six to five (6 to 5) Pirate victory,
we’re still in front of the Dairyland race after all!

Stout defense was still the name of the Pirates’ game,
as the Rivermen came in with an upset on their mind.
Dahl and Kriesel combined for a 4 hitter,
with 10 hits, C-FC was really pounding the ball just fine.

Bagniewski, Krueger and Erica Willadsen were on fire,
each had two strong hits in this rivalry game.
A single C-FC error allowed Alma a run,
but it turned out an 11-1 victory just the same.

Wow! that’s four victories in a row, we’re 7 and 1,
these C-FC softball players ARE for real.
We’re half way through the conference season,
each Pirate win gets us closer to sealing the deal.

As we headed north to Alma Center,
the rain clouds seemed to chase us to the site.
Moisture was certainly in the evening’s forecast,
a 45 minute game delay was just about right.

As we waited patiently in our bright yellow limo,
the wind and rain kept hammering away.
But we were certainly glad we didn’t need the restroom,
the infamous outhouse tipped over that day.

After pulling out to a healthy 7 to 1, Pirate lead,
we were once again delayed by a distant lightning strike.
Back at the bus we waited impatiently,
the trip back home would be late, and a long hike.

A couple of Lincoln hits and an unlikely error,
brought the score closer at seven to three.
But the Lady Pirates held on and secured the win,
for your alma mater, good ol’ C-FC!

The second game of the night gave us a scare,
the Hornets took an early one nothing lead.
But the Pirates came back with three runs of their own,
to seal an exciting 3 to 1 victory indeed.

I’ve always hated those 5 inning games,
they allow weaker teams to believe they can win.
A solid defense and a few timely hits,
we had pulled out another Pirate victory again.

The Lady Pirates have now completed 10 games,
in this enchanted season of 2010.
We have a total of 9 C-FC victories,
and we’re ready to go out and a message we’ll send.

Blair-Taylor came riding into town hoping to show us,
just how much the young Wildcat squad had grown.
But with an incredible 11-0, butt whoopin’,
the Pirate’s superiority had again been shown.

Nicki Dahl and Kelly Hunger combined for the shut-out,
only 4 hits were surrendered to the Cats!
Sadie Cieminski, Katie Kreuger, and Bethany Schmitt,
each had multiple hits in their opportunities at bat.

Going into the season feeling we needed a big challenge,
knowing a defeat would teach us a lot about our skills.
A Pirate victory could push us into potential greatness,
if that should turn out to be this seasons’ will.

Our big match-up with Hope Lutheran never got rolling,
as an all day rainstorm canceled the Saturday game.
We had looked forward to this extremely challenging outing,
two of the area’s best pitchers, each throwing “flames”!

It’s time for another “grudge match” against the Mustangs,
and unlike other games this season, it’s dog-gone cold!
Nicki Dahl took control and struck out ten batters,
this particular Pirate softball season could never get old!

A few Pirate bats also seemed to be on fire,
as we pounded out eleven hits in all.
Becca and Bethany each collected four hits,
two hits for Erica and one for Nicki Dahl.

An awesome nine to zero victory,
we couldn’t quite get it completed in five.
But we have now collected eleven Pirate victories,
let’s put this season into over-drive!

It was now time for revenge against the Lancers,
we were still sitting in first in the conference race.
We needed to put forth a “Statement” game,
to really step out and determine our place.

The Pirates played exceptionally well in this contest,
the game seemed almost over from the start.
An amazing eleven to one, six inning, victory,
left us beaming with lots of Pirate pride in our heart.

Every one of these ladies shined on defense,
but Holly White’s diving catch stands above them all.
We are poised and humble, taking one game at a time,
and in the end, these Lady Pirates had answered the call.

This Cardinal team was “ripe for the pickin’” again,
with a victory, a share of the title would be ours.
We dressed eighteen young athletes for this battle,
we played ‘em all and they hit with real power.

An outstanding fifteen to zero victory,
each one of our pitchers got a chance to toss the ball.
Our starters were pulled in the second inning again,
our substitutes got another chance to stand tall.

We have done it, we have clinched at least a share,
but with 13 wins, we’re not quite satisfied.
We still have some unfinished business to attend to,
as sharing the crown again would hurt our program’s pride.

Last season, a throwing error allowed Indee to tie us in the 7th,
another dropped ball allowed them to defeat us in 10.
A very hard lesson learned to never let up,
that certainly wasn’t going to happen again!

Indee-Gilmanton softball is always on our mind,
the teams’ mind-set won’t allow this one to get away.
We pounded out 12 hits in the first two innings,
there will be a huge C-FC Pirate victory today.

Kate Willadsen pounded out two doubles,
her big sister, Erica sends another one deep.
The defense shined for a near perfect game,
a fourteen to one (14-1) victory was ours to keep.

The Whitehall game had with it a change of venue,
the game was moved to my boyhood home at Pigeon Falls.
The girls made me “kiss the line” for touching the chalk,
it was my first time I had done that, that I can recall.

In this particular contest, we started out a bit flat,
we were anxious and popping up some easy fly balls.
But the effort was there, we wouldn’t be outdone,
the Lady Pirates needed more hardware in our athletic hall.

We emerged with an eight to zero (8-0) shutout victory,
ending the regular season at fifteen and one (15-1).
A solid 2 hit and nine strike out performance,
this year’s Lady Pirate defense just wouldn’t be outdone.

With only one loss in the conference, we are the champs,
as we all took deep breaths while pictures were taken.
One of our season’s goals was fulfilled in full,
our belief in ourselves and new challenges weren’t shaken.

For a third consecutive softball season,
we were selected as our region’s number one seed.
The Pirates had earned another first round bye,
but really, (in my opinion) a bye is not what we need.

At the years start, we decided to scrimmage Arcadia,
the timing between games seems to be about right.
A bus ride to Arcadia and team pictures on the “tank”,
got us prepared for this challenging (practice) fight.

The scrimmage went extremely well,
although in one inning, we accumulated three errors.
Becca was cleated in the knee and needed some stitches,
she’ll be fine, but we were all just a little scared.

Regional Semi-finals: B-T
Before game time, the rain had been coming down,
Blair-Taylor was pushing to postpone for another day.
But these young ladies were anxious to get rolling again,
C-FC’s “Diamond Girls” were psyched and ready to play.

The defense put together another near perfect outing,
the Pirates had a no hitter going into the fourth frame.
A thirteen to one (13 to 1) , five inning victory,
we’re ready for the Regional Championship game.

As the number two seed in this Western Wisconsin regional,
Pepin defeated Lincoln earning the right to take on C-FC.
Allowing Nichole Dahl and her supporting defensive cast,
to toss a 1 hitter in the seven to one (7-1) victory.

The Lady Pirates scored four runs in the first inning
and never really took the time to look back.
Back-to-back doubles by Dahl and Bagniewski
had gotten the “Diamond Girls” off on the right track.

A second consecutive trip to the sectionals,
we’re once again, a couple victories from state.
Our next goal is within reach of this team,
C-FC’s amazing defense is playing great.

New Lisbon’s pitchers rely on speed and the change up,
and we practiced hitting these pitches for hours.
Reggie Franz and Brian Killian were brought in for throwing
as we grew confident with these skills of ours.

The sectional game with New Lisbon was going to be tough,
our Lady Pirates had gotten it rolling from the start.
We played a very solid defensive game,
we certainly weren’t putting “the horse before the cart“.

We figured we had to win each inning,
we needed to stay focused, getting one out at a time.
Our plan was working to near perfection,
a three to zero lead was looking mighty fine.

But that’s when the unthinkable happened,
and it was seemingly by no mistake of our own.
A call by the home plate ump seemed to break our back,
it really changed this particular games’ tone.

After three consecutive Lady Pirate hits,
we were about to blow the Rockets out of the sky.
We all witnessed our runner had scored with ease,
but seconds later, found ourselves asking “why?”

The run would’ve given us a four to zero lead,
with additional runners on second and third.
We figured with that run scoring, along with no outs,
the Pirate faithful would really be heard.

The call seemed to take the air from the Pirate sails,
but we were still in control at the time.
A C-FC runner failed to tag up on a would-be sacrifice fly,
costing us a game securing run with that mental crime!

During the 5th inning with two outs already in the bag
a deep fly hit the top of the fence an rolled over the top.
A gallant effort was made, but the home run was called,
a tie game at three to three nearly made our hearts stop.

We had some opportunities to score the next 5 innings,
but a “big hit” never came through for our Lady Pirate 9.
We ended up being defeated in the 10th inning,
a state tournament trip in 2010, wasn’t in the cards this time.

I believe that these players know in their hearts,
that we were a state championship quality team.
But we’ll carry that empty feeling with us forever,
as our hearts were torn apart at the seams.

Adversity is rumored to make a person stronger,
and a gut check like we experienced just doesn’t seem fair.
I have yet to look at the video of the game,
it’ll just add to the graying of my hair.

Our school and communities are very proud of these gals,
they worked incredibly hard each and every day.
We came up just short of our pre-seasons’ goal,
and their class and character won’t ever be taken away.

We were, perhaps, one call away from making history,
this softball season has been an enjoyable gift.
But for some unknown reason or calamity,
you just can’t help but wonder…., “What if?”

As this group of young ladies leaves behind their legacy
and a C-FC school record season of 17 softball wins.
Rest assured our softball memories will bring us back,
to the knowledge that “Diamonds are truly a girl’s best friend“.

All Dairyland First Team:
Nichole Dahl, Erica Willadsen, Becca Bagniewski
All Dairyland 2nd Team:
Kate Willadsen, Bethany Schmitt, Katie Krueger
Wisconsin Senior All Stars:
Nichole Dahl, Erica Willadsen