History was made Thursday as the Valmeyer High School softball team won the program’s first ever regional championship.
In a thrilling low-scoring affair, the Pirates edged Okawville, 1-0, at home to survive and advance in the Class 1A postseason. Afterward, fire trucks escorted the team in an impromptu parade through the village to celebrate the historic victory.
“I knew it would be a good game,” Valmeyer head softball coach Gayle McCarthy said. “I was just wishing it would not have been a 1-0 game because I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
The contest was scoreless through five innings as neither team’s offense could break through. Valmeyer freshman pitcher Brooke Miller went the distance, striking out 10 and allowing just four hits with one walk all game.
“A stellar pitching performance by Brooke Miller,” McCarthy said.
Miller had solid defense behind her – namely junior shortstop Aspen Schmidt. She fielded four straight ground ball outs during the middle innings.
After leading off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double, Valmeyer sophomore Markee Voelker scored from third base on a wild pitch with two outs and the bases loaded. Miller made that lone run stand up.
“One of my best baserunners on third base, probably,” McCarthy said of the scoring play. “Markee’s a great baserunner.”
Miller is 8-2 with a 2.25 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched this spring for the Pirates (14-5). Miller also leads the team in hitting at .449 this season with 27 runs.
Schmidt is hitting .419 with 21 runs and is 4-1 in the pitching circle with a 1.46 ERA. Tinleigh Jakimauskas, a senior, is hitting .393 with 22 RBIs.
Valmeyer, posting its first winning season since 2001, advanced to the sectional round and faced Pleasant Plains on Tuesday, winning 5-0. Miller homered and had three RBIs and Schmidt pitched a six-hit shutout, striking out 13 and walking none.
The Pirates host Christ Our Rock Lutheran in the sectional championship game this Thursday.
“We have believed in these girls from the beginning of the season,” McCarthy said. “They are very passionate.”