The Posen-Hillman regular season softball doubleheader has become an annual must-see for area softball fans.
The two teams have split the last five North Star League titles and neither team has walked away from the matchup with a sweep since 2008 when Posen won 2-1 and 9-7.
Not much has changed this year as the two teams will meet today in Hillman for another chapter in what has become quite a rivalry. Both teams are 12-0 in league play, so if one team sweeps, it wins the title outright.
News File Photo
Posen pitcher Ashley Meyers winds up during a softball game against Hillman in this 2012 photo. Meyers and the Vikings will play at Hillman today with the North Star League title on the line. The two teams have split the last five league titles and neither side has swept the regular season matchup since 2008.
For the last several years, the games have often come down to the wire, with a few key defensive plays or a big inning making the difference between a win and a loss.
"It does (comes down to the two of us) every single year, it's a good caliber of play and it's the first time we get to see each other (this season)," Hillman coach Curt Tebo said.
This year's edition isn't short on intrigue: Both teams are ranked-Posen (17-4) is No. 8 in Division 4, Hillman (13-3) is No. 10-the conference title is on the line again and it's showdown between two of the area's best pitchers in Hillman's Jensen Tchorzynski and Posen's Ashley Meyers. Both have had stellar seasons so far this year, throwing several no-hitters as well as a few perfect games apiece.
Meyers has steadily developed an impressive pitching repertoire in the last few seasons and has made a lot of long days for her opponents when she's on the mound.
"Every year it seems like she develops another pitch," Posen coach Glenn Budnick said. "Right now she's got four and when she's got all four of them working, she's tough to beat."
Tchorzynski spent her freshman season as Hillman's No. 2 pitcher behind Maci Schook, but has come in to her own in the last two seasons, especially this year as she has formed a solid partnership with sophomore catcher Taylor Crawford.
"She's solid, she's at the top of her game," Tebo said.
Despite their success this season, both teams are relatively young and entered the year with questions about how good they might be.
Hillman returned five players, but only three were starters, which meant the players called up from JV had a lot to learn and key roles to fill.
"When you come to from varsity from JV, it's a whole different level, but they came with the attitude that they were going to work hard and they have," Tebo said. "I'm very confident with what we put on the field."
Posen had a young squad last season as well, but managed to come away with a district title after beating the Tigers. Coming into this season, the Vikings had a good blend of talent, but Budnick wasn't sure how or if things would come together smoothly.
"We knew our team had potential, but we had a blend of youth and experienced players and we didn't know how that would translate," Budnick said. "It's translated into good things."
The two teams will meet again in predistrict action on May 28 and could also face each other again this weekend at the Harbor Light Tournament.
Both teams have a mutual respect for one another, but both sides are eager to lay sole claim to the North Star League title too.
"Win or lose, it's going to be fun and it'll be fun to coach in," Budnick said. "It's going to be whichever team puts it together for both ball games (that's) going to win."
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694.