Coach Grahn proud of Panthers’ accomplishments

Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

RACHEL ROMPS, an All-EWC first-team pitcher, was voted Plymouth’s MVP for the 2014 softball season. – Review file photo RACHEL ROMPS, an All-EWC first-team pitcher, was voted Plymouth’s MVP for the 2014 softball season. – Review file photo PLYMOUTH – A strong finish highlighted the Plymouth softball team’s successful 2014 season.

The Panthers had a five-game winning streak at the end of the season, including an upset of No. 1-seeded Campbellsport, 2-0, in the Division 2 regional semifinals. PHS finished 16-7 overall and placed third in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference at 10-4. The Panthers have had 19 straight winning seasons.

PHS advanced to the regional fi- nals for the fourth straight year. This past season, the No. 4-seeded Panthers lost to No. 2-seeded and EWC champion Waupun in the regional finals, 4-1.

“It was another great group of girls, led by my four seniors,” said Gale Grahn who retired this year after 24 seasons as the Panthers’ head coach.

“The team really meshed as the season went along, as we played our best ball at the end of the season. I’m very proud of all that was accomplished again.

“Teams around the state know that Plymouth is a team that will be strong each year,” said Grahn who posted a 331-164 career record (.669 winning percentage), all at PHS.

“The main keys to the strong season were excellent pitching, timely hitting and solid defense, especially the last two weeks of season. We had excellent leadership from Rachel [Romps], Sara [Romps], and Mikaela [Holdridge].”

Grahn commented on each of the players and their key contributions this past season.

“Rachel Romps [senior pitcher] finished her career No. 2 in all pitching categories – 440 innings, 51 wins, 511 strikeouts, a 1.51 ERA and 22 shutouts.

“Sara Romps [senior pitcher] has caught virtually every innings for the last three years. She was an excellent defensive catcher – committing only four errors in her career, including none in 2014.

“Mikaela Holdridge [senior third baseman] was a four-year starter at third base. She was our career leader in at-bats [306], second in hits [109], third in doubles [21], fifth in home runs [four], sixth in RBIs [75] and 15th in batting average [.356].

“She was strong, defensively, at third too.

“Brianna Sippel [senior center fielder] hit a huge home run versus Campbellsport to win that game and knock them out of first place [in the EWC]. She also displayed excellent range in center field.

“Erika Stauss [junior right fielder] was really consistent all year [batting] – never going two games in a row without a hit.

“Jordyn Pieper [sophomore second baseman] was in the top four in most offensive categories. She really became a nice defensive player at second base – committing only three errors all season.

“Cassy Sippel [sophomore shortstop] started slow but finished strong – hitting over .400 in the last nine games. She definitely gained confidence at shortstop as the season went along.

“Paige Stoney [junior designated player and first baseman] was our main designated player. She hit .300 in 40 at-bats.

“Michaela Kelly [junior first baseman] did a nice job adjusting to a position change and playing first base. She improved as the season went on.

“Jackie Snow and Shane Flaig [junior outfielders] both played some outfield for the first time and did courtesy running for our pitcher and catcher.

“Elizabeth Struve [junior designated player] did some DP work – collecting two doubles among her five hits.

“Vanessa Arbuckle [freshman left fielder] came up about halfway through the season [from the junior varsity] and gave us another big bat in the lineup. She hit a big home run versus Sheboygan Falls in the regional [first-round] game,” said the coach.

“We got nice contributions from all 13 players.”

The outlook for next season is bright as the Panthers return nine letter winners and will have nice additions from the JV squad which won 13 games this year.


Rachel Romps, an All-EWC first-team pick for the second straight year, was voted the Panthers’ Most Valuable Player by her teammates for the second consecutive season. She was 15-7 with an outstanding 1.86 ERA and an excellent 163 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 147 innings.

The other award-winners were Holdridge, Top Offensive Player for the second straight year; Cassy Sippel, Most Improved; and Sara Romps, Top Defensive Player. Holdridge and the Romps twin sisters were the team captains.

Stauss led PHS in batting with a .391 average and doubles, eight, and tied for first in hits with Holdridge at 21 each. Holdridge scored a team-high 28 runs and shared the RBI lead with Brianna Sippel at 17 apiece.

Pieper led in stolen bases with 10.

All of the players on the team earned letters.

Rachel and Sara Romps and Holdridge played in the Wisconsin Fast-Pitch Softball Coaches Coaches Association Senior All-Star Games in June at Mauston. They each raised a minimum of $300 which was donated to the Special Olympics.

Batting Leaders

Erika Stauss……….…................ .391
Mikaela Holdridge……….…......... .365
Brianna Sippel...…...................... .342
Jordyn Pieper….….................….. .329
B. Sippel.......................................17

Pitching Leaders
Rachel Romps……….…..15 7 1.86

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