You don't win a WIAA state softball championship without good players. New Berlin West was fortunate enough to have two of the best in the area.
Sophomore Cheyenne Sowinski and junior Camryn Klotz were key performers for the Vikings. As a result, they were named to the 2016 Now All-Suburban softball team as two of 17 starters from the over 20 schools that Now Newspapers and websites cover.
Senior infielder Leah Marrari was high honorable mention (second team), and senior catcher Riley Farrell and senior outfielder Abby Stoltenberg were honorable mention.
Sowinski made the team as a utility player because she was such an outstanding hitter as well as a pitcher.
Honors —Cheyenne was a first-team All-State, first-team All-Conference and first-team All-Woodland selection. She was also the Woodland West Player of the Year and a first-team All-District selection.
Statistics — Cheyenne led the state in both hits and RBIs. She batted third in the batting order, hitting .545. She led the team and Woodland in hits, on-base percentage (OBP, .564), slugging (. 818), on-base percentage/slugging, OPS 1.382), RBIs (56), extra base hits (XBH, 10 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 18 total) — everything but runs scored (22). As a pitcher, West often courtesy ran for her.
She won eight straight games to finish the season, including all six games in the playoffs on the way to the state championship. She was fifth in the state in wins (18) and was in the top 20 in the state in strikeouts (159). She had a 1.37 ERA, and opponents only hit .207 against her.
'She can dominate the game with her pitching or her hitting,' coach Greg Klotz said. 'If both are on, she can be the difference maker in any game. Everything we have done starts with her on the mound, and when she comes to the plate, she gets the job done as well.'
Sowinski said the pressure doesn't bother her. With everyone relying on her, it takes pressure off her teammates.
'I like it when I'm in control of the game,' she said. 'I'll take as much (pressure) as I can I can handle. Then there is less on other people and less chance to make mistakes.'
Cheyenne, who is a Native American, does have her superstitions, like most players.
'I have a little ponie wrapped around the handle of my bat,' she said. 'I also wear the same headband. It makes me more at ease, more comfortable.'
Cheyenne has five pitches: a fastball, change-up, drop, a drop curve and a rise.
Watching Sowinski during West's run to the championship, she busted her fastball inside for strikes and kept the hitters off-balance with her change-up. It was beautiful to watch.
'We knew the deeper we went into the playoffs, the better hitters we would face,' Cheyenne said. 'We needed to keep them off balance. Keep it low; don't let them hit it. With the fastball, we tired to jam people.'
Camryn Klotz was a talented third baseman, whose sister Mallory played on the 2013 state tournament team. Klotz and Sowinski were the straws that stirred the drink on this talented Vikings softball team.
Honors —Cam was first-team All-Conference, first-team All-Woodland West and honorable mention All-District. She was the Player of the Game in the state championship.
Statistics —The Vikings scored 305 runs this year, and Camryn scored or drove in a total of 85 runs, accounting for an amazing 28 percent of their runs scored. She was fifth in the state in runs scored, in the top 50 in RBIs and in the top 35 in hits. She was second on the team and in conference in all major categories behind Sowinski but first in runs scored (51).
She batted .453 with .531 OBP, 1.163 OPS and .632 slugging. He had 13 extra base hits (10 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR), 34 RBIs and was 12-for-12 stealing bases.
'Camryn was the 'one' of our 1-2 punch,' coach Greg Koltz said. 'She has a combination of speed, small ball and power hitting that is vital to any lineup, and she did it from the No. 2 spot in the order, right in front of Cheyenne.'
Camryn was all about clutch hitting, the one West wanted at the plate for the key (winning) hits in big games.
Looking back, down two runs against Greendale with a runner at second, she doubles in the run, steals third and scores on an infield out. The Vikings went on to win.
Against New Berlin Eisenhower, the score is tied with two runners on in the top of seventh, and she drives a double to the gap, scoring two runs; then from third, she scores on a squeeze to go up by three. Eisenhower scored twice, but the Vikings held on for the win.
Camryn did walk and score twice in the 4-3 state semifinal win over New London, but she struck out three times, which was unlike her. She made up for it the next day.
But on the biggest stage in Madison in a scoreless state championship game, she ripped a triple down the right field line, scored the runner on first and then scored the game winner on Sowinski's single to left.
A solid all-around player, Sowinski, who complimented her defense whenever she could, was quick to praise Camryn's glovework.
'I definitely thought she progressed a lot,' she said. 'I have confidence in her. She made all of the plays.'
Greg Klotz agreed.
'On defense, you cannot bunt on her or get one past her,' he said. 'It was practically a sure out whenever she touched the ball.
'Her numbers, as do Cheyenne's, speak for themselves.'