A 4-0 start in the Colverbelt East has Spencer softball thinking of a division crown
By Paul Lecker
SPENCER — The Spencer softball team won the Cloverbelt Conference East Division title in 2013 but missed out last year as Neillsville claimed the championship.
Over the first few weeks of the season, it seems evident that the two are going to be near the top again.
Spencer headed into Thursday’s game at Colby with a 6-2 overall record and a perfect 4-0 mark in the Cloverbelt East after junior pitcher Macie Weber posted back-to-back shutouts over the past week.
Weber no-hit Owen-Withee in an 11-1 win on April 24 and followed that up with a 7-0 complete-game victory at Loyal on Tuesday.
The early momentum has the Rockets eyeing a return to the top of the conference.
“We’ve been able to pick up some solid wins against some pretty good teams,” Spencer coach Jason Gorst said. “I think we’ve been focused in every game, no matter the score, so that’s a positive. Macie’s pitching has been excellent, defensively we’re strong, and we’re really hitting the ball.”
Seniors Marisa Johnson, Brooke Kettleborough, and Lindsey Vaughan top the Rockets’ batting order and have produced since the season began.
Freshman first baseman Lexi Baehr has been inserted in the five-spot in the batting order behind Weber, with catcher Mandie Schultz adding another big bat behind her.
Johnson is hitting .440 (11 of 25) with three home runs and a team-high 12 runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Weber is hitting .400 (10 of 25), and Kettleborough leads the team with 10 RBIs and is 11 of 27 at the plate overall.
Courtney Buss at second base, along with Johnson and Kettleborough, has given Spencer a strong up-the-middle defense that every team needs.
“I feel like right now, everything is clicking,” Gorst said. “We’ve played in some tight games, and they’ve shown that clutch factor. Against Monroe earlier in the season, we came back from being down. Everything is very balanced right now. Defense is strong, pitching is strong, and I feel like our plate discipline has been great this year.”
The schedule gets tougher as the Rockets head into May. On top of tough nonconference games against Marathon and Stratford at the Thorp Tournament on May 9, Spencer will host a doubleheader against Neillsville on May 19, the second-to-last matchup in the conference season.
“We are expecting a close game with Gilman (on Friday) regardless of the score the first time (a 13-3 win on April 14),” Gorst said. “We’ll still have a doubleheader with Neillsville later in the season and then have to face everybody the second time through. A lot of times you will see teams improve in that second half of the season, so you have to be ready for everything.”