First-year Nicolet girls softball coach Dave Berghaus is keeping a realistic point of view.
He knows that his team is not scaring any of the elites in the area, but he does have the 8-6 Knights playing better and with some pride, after starting the season 0-3.
They have since quadrupled their win total from the 2-17 season of a year ago.
And they're doing it starting five freshmen.
They won four of five games last week before a 10-1 nonconference loss to Sheboygan South on May 2.
'This has been a great turnaround,' said Berghaus, who spent some years at Shorewood before coming over to Glendale. 'Nicolet was looking (for a coach) and I'm very pleased to be here. The awesome thing about both the varsity and the JV is that they love to come to practice and work hard, and they really retain the things that we've worked on.
'Things we've worked on, get turned over into games.'
Which showed up last week, as despite dank and cold weather, they defeated area nonconference rival Shorewood, 6-3, on April 25, lost to North Shore foe Port Washington, 10-3, on April 26, swept area nonconference opponent Dominican, 16-4, and 14-1, in a doubleheader on April 27, and then beat Milwaukee Hamilton, 13-2, on April 29.
A common theme has emerged for the Knights, said Berghaus.
'We can hit and we can hit one through nine (in the lineup),' he said. 'We're not dependent on any two-three batters. We have a lot of weapons and we like to bunt, steal and move runners around.'
Berghaus is also a big believer in repetition.
'We have a lot of nonconference games and we get them a good amount of games because we want to get their confidence up,' he said, 'and it's worked. The kids are feeling pretty good about themselves and we're playing pretty good ball. The kids come to the park every day and they practice hard. It's a great atmosphere.'
Co-captains Ania Kotecki, Samantha Peltz and Amethyst Graham have provided great leadership, added Berghaus, especially with all the youngsters in the lineup.
The starting lineup includes three seniors, one junior and the five freshmen.
'It's just a very good mix right now; we're just trying to work it one game at a time right now,' said Berghaus.
The Knights will co-host a six-team tournament with Whitefish Bay on Saturday, May 7, with Pius XI, Waukesha West, Martin Luther and Dominican.
Results for the week follow:
Sheboygan South 10, Nicolet 1: A six-run first inning did in the Knights as South pounded out 16 hits in the May 2 tilt.
Nicolet 13, Hamilton 2: The Knights scored in every inning of this five-inning game that was called due to the 'mercy rule' on April 29. Kotecki had four hits and two RBIs while Peltz had a home run, two hits and two RBIs and Maddie Steffes had a triple, two hits and two RBI. Bella Flores also had two hits as Koetcki got the win with nine strikeouts and four walks.
Nicolet 14, Dominican 1: In the nightcap of this April 27 doubleheader, Peltz had three hits, including a triple, and three RBIs while Graham had two hits and scored three runs. Steffes had two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs while Kotecki had two hits and two runs scored. Steffes scattered six hits for the win with four strikeouts and no walks.
Nicolet 16, Dominican 4: In the opener of the twinbill, the Knights combined to score 13 runs in the second and third innings as they pounded out 16 hits. Steffes had four hits with five RBIs, while Kotecki, Graham, Taylor Hall and Miriam Maistelman all had two hits apiece. Kotecki earned the win.
Port Washington 10, Nicolet 3:This April 26 game was deceptive as the Knights, behind a three-run homer from Graham, took a 3-0 lead into the sixth, but then the Pirates scored three times to tie the game in that frame and blew the contest open with seven tallies in the seventh.
Nicolet 6, Shorewood 3:A three-run sixth gave Nicolet the necessary cushion on April 25 as Steffes earned the win with five strikeouts and five walks.
Maistelman had two hits and knocked in two runs and Steffes knocked in two runs of her own.