Confidence can go a long way for a team.
After Wauwatosa East's softball team dropped its season opener, coach Ed Raue was hoping for a strong start to Greater Metro Conference play for his team to see what it is capable of.
The Red Raiders received the shot of confidence they needed with a 19-2 rout of Brookfield Central on March 28 before cruising to a 19-7 victory over Waukesha South on March 29 to move to 2-1 on the young season.
"We needed that," Raue said of the Central win. "This is not a program that has had a lot of success. The things these kids have gone through and how they've worked so hard in the offseason, they need to believe it and they need to see it.
"We played Waukesha North last week and ran into a great pitcher. (Brookfield Central) is a team we played with last year. I felt like we could play with them, but I don't think they knew that. Now, we'll see what we can do. We don't kick the ball around. We make our plays. And when we put a good swing on it, we can battle anybody."
Tosa East took a 1-0 lead on a two-out RBI single by Shea Murphy. After the Lancers tied the game in the top of the second, the Red Raiders responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame. An RBI single by Emily Breider gave East the lead before Makenzie Miller scored on a wild pitch, Maddy Rudella scored on a groundout by Cora Bilitz and Breider came in on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.
A three-run home run by Morgan Schmanski and a bases-clearing triple by Bilitz ignited a 12-run third inning that blew the game open. Murphy, Miller and Schmanski also had RBI singles in the frame.
"(Morgan's home run) kind of changed things," Raue said. "Everybody kind of relaxed after that. That's what she's capable of. She's a great hitter."
Tosa East scored twice more in the fourth on an RBI single by Stacia Raebel and a bases-loaded walk issued to Emily Muetze.
Analiese Glawe kept Brookfield Central, which finished in third place in the Greater Metro last season, at bay in the circle. The sophomore allowed just two earned runs on two hits with six walks and five strikeouts over a five-inning complete game.
"She kept walking the leadoff hitter, but she battled and battled," Raue said. "She kept throwing strikes when she needed to and kept them off the board. She got the outs when she needed them."
Schmanski finished 2 for 5 with a home run and four RBI. Bilitz had five RBI, Murphy went 2 for 2 with 2 RBI and Breider drove in a pair of runs.
In the game against Waukesha South, East fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first but answered with nine runs in the bottom of the frame and didn't look back in another 10-run rule victory.
Three errors by the Blackshirts helped Tosa East plate its first four runs before Breider drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run. Bilitz then connected for a three-run double before coming in to score on a single by Schmanski.
In the second, Meghan Erickson scored on an error, Miller stole home on a double steal and Bilitz singled home Rudella to make it 13-3. Emily Muetze crossed the plate on a fielder's choice hit by Rudella before Bilitz capped her big day with a two-run single.
Taylor Cure belted a solo home run as part of a two-run fourth that put the Red Raiders up 19-3.
After driving in five runs against Brookfield Central, Bilitz went 3 for 4 with seven RBI in the win over Waukesha South. Erickson was 3 for 4 with two RBI, Schmanski went 3 for 4 with an RBI and Rudella drove in two runs.
Bilitz also earned the victory in the circle, allowing two earned runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts over three innings. Raebel pitched the final two innings for the Red Raiders.