Marshfield softball’s youth movement pays dividends
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — With three home games coming up and a rematch with one of the top teams in the Wisconsin Valley Conference looming on Thursday, Marshfield softball is hoping its season keeps trending upward.
The Tigers improved to 7-5 with a 13-8 nonconference win at Black River Falls on Tuesday after pounding out 15 hits and getting home runs from Lexi Dupee and freshman Emily Draeger.
Marshfield plays a nonconference doubleheader at home Saturday against Antigo before returning to WVC action Tuesday at home against Wisconsin Rapids and at Merrill on Thursday. The Tigers lost to Merrill 6-3 at home in a hard-fought battle on May 4.
Freshman Megan Donahue has been a catalyst on the mound for the Tigers, posting four-straight double-digit strikeout performances over the past two weeks.
She had 14 strikeouts and tossed a four-hit shutout against Wausau West on April 30 and had 10 Ks in a 6-3 loss to Merrill on Monday.
“She throws strikes, and she’s a strong kid that throws hard,” Marshfield coach Mike Voss said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a girl that throws as hard as she does. At the same time, she has a lot of movement on the ball, and it’s tough to pick up as a batter. She’s put a lot of time and effort into it, but at the same time she has the physical tools to make it work for her.”
Along with Draeger and Donahue, Morgan Norbeck is another freshman in the Tigers’ starting lineup, and all three are hitting at the top of the order in front of Dupee, who has two homers and seven RBIs in her last two games, and she also added a game-winning hit in the seventh inning to push Marshfield past Medford on April 27.
“They’re good ballplayers, and I knew that coming into the season that for us to have a good season this year, they had to be big contributors,” Voss said. “So far it’s paid off. In the beginning of the year, I had a different batting order to try to protect them a little bit, but as we’ve gone through the season we’ve had to move things around due to injuries and things and try to get a little more firepower at the top of the order. Since we’ve made that switch, it’s really paid dividends for us on offense.”