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Greenfield softball pitcher Bella Matthias keeps racking up strikeouts

Hawks' pitcher tops 200 mark for K's on season

Whitnall’s Sarah Bauer comes around after making contact with the ball as Greenfield catcher Lexi Vilkoski reaches out and pitcher Bella Matthias (11) looks on during the game May 8.

Whitnall’s Sarah Bauer comes around after making contact with the ball as Greenfield catcher Lexi Vilkoski reaches out and pitcher Bella Matthias (11) looks on during the game May 8. Photo By Peter Zuzga

May 13, 2014

Fans at Greenfield High School softball games this season do not have to worry too much about staying cool, even on the rare warm days.

That's because opposing batters are creating plenty of breeze as they swing and miss at the pitches of Bella Matthias.

The sophomore ace came into this week with an astounding total of 205 strikeouts in 1041/3 innings pitched and a fine 0.96 earned-run average.

On top of that, she boasts strong control, with just 18 walks on the season, including just one in her last 341/3 innings.

Last week alone, Matthias fanned 17 batters in two different games, 14 hitters in two games and 12 in another contest.

Curveball is key

"She has a good fastball but is not overpowering with it," head coach Jack Miller said. "Her out pitch is actually her curveball and her rise ball is effective. She can move the ball around the strike zone."

Muskego head coach John Rosenberg, whose team has handed Matthias two losses by scores of 4-1 and 3-0 this season, is also impressed with her prowess.

"She is tough and has a great demeanor," Rosenberg said. "She loves to challenge you. If you wait until deep in the count, she will make you pay. You know she is always coming right at you."

Behind Matthias' work on the mound, and some clutch hitting, the Hustlin' Hawks fashioned a 13-5 overall record going into this week.

They were 9-1 in Woodland Conference play, including 6-1 in the East Division, tied with South Milwaukee for first place.

The Hawks dropped a 7-6 extra-inning game to the Rockets earlier this season, and the teams will meet again at 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 19, at Konkel Park.

Hawks trim Whitnall

The biggest victory of last week was a 2-0 triumph over Whitnall on May 8 in which Matthias allowed just two hits while striking out 14 and walking none in seven innings.

The Hawks, who managed just two hits themselves off Whitnall's Alex Cimler, scored twice in the fourth inning.

Matthias drew a walk, Kayla Culbertson singled and Lexi Vilkoski lined a run-scoring single up the middle to drive in one run. Vilkoski, a freshman catcher, is leading the Hawks in average at .500 and in runs batted in with 16.

Kristin Kaifesh drove home the second run with a long sacrifice fly to make it 2-0, and Matthias made that stand up.

The Hawks topped Greendale, 6-1, on May 6 as Matthias gave up seven hits and fanned eight, her lowest total of the season.

Vilkoski collected two hits and three runs batted in, while Kaifesh and Hannah Rios each totaled two hits and one RBI and Culbertson two hits.

Greenfield swept Cudahy 8-6 and 11-1 on May 5. In the first game, Matthias struck out 17 to match her career high and allowed four hits.

Nicollette Curtis, Culbertson, Sara Kassel, Rios, Samantha Weber and Kaifesh each drove in one run.

In the nightcap, Matthias fanned 10 and gave up three hits. Vilkoski had two hits and three RBIs and Culbertson and Maria Montemayor two hits and two RBIs each.

Greenfield blanked Oak Creek, 2-0, on May 9 behind a four-hitter with 17 strikeouts by Matthias. Kassel and Curtis both went 2-for-4.

On May 10, the Hawks lost two of three at the Muskego Tournament. They fell to the host team, 3-0, and Kenosha Tremper, 5-3, but rebounded to down St. Thomas More, 6-3.

Against Muskego, Matthias struck out 14 and gave up six hits but was outdueled by Warrior ace Hailey Blount, who fanned 10 herself.

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