Whitewater senior impressive in double duty

Sara Johnson struck out 11 and knocked in six runs to lead the Whippets in the team’s 13-7 win over the Eagles on March 22. See more WHS sports in the March 28 Register. (Bob Mischka photo)

Sara Johnson strikes out 11, knocks in 4 runs as Whippets open with win

By Daniel Schoettler

Sports Correspondent

Sara Johnson started her season with a big performance on the mound and at the plate.

The Whitewater High School senior struck out 11 and recorded four hits and drove in six runs to help the Whippets notch their first win of the season, a 13-7 home win against rival Jefferson on March 22.

“I was really happy with the first game as we are an upperclassmen-dominated team with five seniors, four juniors and two sophomores,” head coach Ron Sdano said. “I expect us to have a good year, and I expect us to hit the ball like we did out of the gates.”

Whitewater started its offensive barrage with a scoring punch in the first inning as junior Alyssa Schumacher drove in Bryce Hibbs on a triple before Johnson drove her in on a dropped ball in the outfield to make it 2-0.

Johnson continued her impressive performance as she tight roped out of danger in two innings while starting the game with six strikeouts.

After a Jocelin Beecroft RBI single in the second inning, the Whippets loaded the bases and Johnson cleared them with triple to extend the lead to 6-0.

“We had some big hits, and we had a close play at second because that there was a question on whether it was obstruction or not,” Sdano said. “We got a break there, and that is when Sara came up and drove in the three runs. You need a break every once in awhile.”

After a Hibbs home run in the fourth, Whitewater used a six-run fifth to secure the 13-7 win.

“That was huge because down the road she might be our best power hitter,” Sdano said of Hibbs getting a homer in her first at-bat since a year of being hurt. “I think Bryce is going to have a huge year and be strong. She is excited to be back.”

Schumacher and Johnson led the way with four hits apiece. Kaylee Ruhl also registered three hits, while Hibbs belted the lone home run.

Johnson pitched all seven innings, allowing seven runs, with only three earned.     “She pitched well as she came out of the gates with nine strikeouts,” Sdano said. “Once Jefferson started seeing her the third or fourth time, they got contact and that happens with pitchers. I expect Sara to be one of the top pitchers in our league.”

Whitewater was scheduled to visit Big Foot on Tuesday and then host Brodhead on Thursday (March 28) before visiting Delavan-Darien on Monday.

“In our conference, we have a lot of strong teams and you can’t take anyone for granted,” Sdano said. “We’re going one game at a time and do what we did against Jefferson.”

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