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Necessary ingredients - Gillette News Record: Sports

Necessary ingredients

Camel fast-pitch team ready to chase third straight title

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Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 12:00 am

The Camels high school age fast-pitch softball team has all the necessary ingredients to win a third straight state title when the state tournament starts Saturday in Gillette.

The local squad has the hitting and pitching. Just as importantly, its players are getting healthy at the right time.

"Our hitting has carried us, especially in our conference games against Wyoming teams," coach Danny Gojkovich said.

The Camels have had a balanced attack all season. They have five players with a batting average above .500 and, as a team, are hitting .459.

The lineup is led by Sarah Krammer and her .594 batting average. Krammer also leads the team in hits, with 38, and RBI, with 31.

"She's been really clutch," senior Audrie Conner said. "She's just been that girl on our team who can overcome anything. She's been a really good key to our team."

Seniors Baileigh Oleson and Lacey Gojkovich also are key hitters. Oleson is batting .585, with 31 hits and 30 RBIs. Gojkovich, who is batting .544, also has 31 hits and has driven in 28 runs.

Conner has a .510 batting average, with 13 RBIs. The Camels' leadoff hitter has a .579 on-base percentage, while only striking out twice.

Trinnity Potter also is hitting .500. The sophomore's success at the plate shows just how deep the Gillette lineup is. Potter, who usually bats in the bottom third of the order, also has a .581 on-base percentage.

"Our hitting has been spot on," Conner said. "Our biggest thing (this weekend) is going to be patience and not swinging at junk."

Pitching is also paramount in postseason play, and the Camels are in good hands. Sisters Baileigh and Megan Oleson have dominated on the mound all season. Baileigh, a senior, sports a 5-1 record, while allowing an average of .91 runs per game.

Her strikeout to walk ratio is 39-to-3.

Her younger sister, Megan, has been just as good. Megan, a freshman, is 6-0, with a 1.35 ERA and has a 37-to-11 strikeout to walk ratio.

"Megan is doing spectacular," Conner said. "You can definitely see the growth she's had. Having her big sister there to push her has been great. She's been doing really good."

Early in the season, Conner pitched against some tough Rapid City teams, which inflated her ERA. She has been pitching better as of late and is confident heading into the state tournament. For the season, Conner is 4-4 overall, with a 3.98 ERA and has a 27-to-9 strikeout to walk ratio.

"I feel like I've improved a lot throughout the season," she said. "I know that I have my team to back me up, and that just gives me a lot more confidence out on the field."

In limited action, sophomore Phoebe Huus also has found success on the mound for the Camels. Huus is 2-0, with a .70 ERA and an 11-to-5 strikeout to walk ratio.

The Camels also have been able to take advantage of the extra time at the end of the season to get healthy. The tournament was originally scheduled for Oct. 5-6, but was postponed by last week's heavy snow. About half the team was nursing minor injuries, but now the players head into the tournament completely healthy.

"Having that big break, we definitely got healed up," Conner said. "Everybody is healed up from where we were."

Three teams will compete for the varsity state title in Gillette on Saturday and Sunday.

Casper, Rock Springs and Gillette open games with pool play Saturday and championship play takes place Sunday.

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