Casey Fountain’s athleticism and desire to work hard were evident to Poynette softball coach Bob Tomlinson the moment he saw her.
And that’s when she was in kindergarten.
“She’s a great kid,” Tomlinson said. “I’ve known her since she was in kindergarten. I was an elementary phy ed teacher. I knew she’d be super at something some day because she’s just always worked hard. … She was athletically and physically talented. She could do gymnastics things that the gymnastics kids could do and she didn’t take gymnastics. That kind of stuff.”
Fountain, now a junior playing for Tomlinson on the Poynette softball team, certainly was super Saturday — in the circle and at the plate at Goodman Diamond.
She led top-ranked, top-seeded and undefeated Poynette to a 4-0 victory over second-seeded Campbellsport as the Pumas defended their WIAA Division 3 state championship.
Fountain struck out 13 and allowed only one hit in a complete-game shutout victory for the Pumas (30-0).
Fountain also collected four hits, including two doubles, drove in the game’s first run in the third inning and scored a run in the fifth inning. Pumas junior left fielder Lucy Cuff drove in two runs.
“It’s so exciting,” Fountain said. “This was our goal all season. The Poynette Pumas never won two championships in a row. So, this was what we were working for and we made it.”
The championship was the fifth for Poynette in 11 state appearances (one title in Division 2, four in Division 3). Campbellsport, making its state debut, finished 17-8.
Fountain dueled pitch-for-pitch with Campbellsport senior right-hander Alyssa Muench, who struck out 15. Fountain didn’t flinch despite being called for an illegal pitch for moving her foot forward in the first inning.
“That kid just sucked it up and fixed what she did wrong, and pitched her heart out,” Tomlinson said.
Said Fountain, who compiled a 23-0 record as a pitcher this season: “I felt pretty confident because of my defense behind me.”
After Pumas junior designated player Mollie Blockwitz was hit by a pitch leading off the third inning, Fountain delivered a one-out RBI double to left-center that gave the Pumas a 1-0 lead.
The Pumas broke open the game with three runs in the fifth inning, all the runs coming after two were out.
Junior second baseman Brianna Kowald singled, then Fountain doubled down the left-field line. Cuff followed with a two-run single to center, increasing Poynette’s lead to 3-0.
Cuff stole second and scored Poynette’s fourth run on an error when Pumas junior right fielder Molly Anderson’s pop up was dropped by Cougars senior second baseman Adriana Dechant.
The Cougars’ only hit came on a bunt single by senior center fielder Morgan Fryman leading off the fourth inning.
“I was expecting a 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 game, something like that,” Campbellsport coach Dan Heisdorf said. “They got hits. We just couldn’t put the bat on the ball. Casey is an outstanding pitcher. … We knew we’d have our hands full with her. She was hitting her spots well. Congrats to them.”
Campbellsport had two runners aboard with one out in that fourth inning, but Fountain worked out of the jam.
“We always know how to persevere through it,” Fountain said.
The Pumas only had one senior, Ashley Hellenbrand, listed on their roster. So, the championship clearly was a testament to their Fountain of Youth.
Tomlinson, whose team has won 54 consecutive games over two seasons, said the state championship was Poynette’s ultimate goal, but the Pumas didn’t need to talk about it throughout the season.
“You can only play so many games in your life,” Tomlinson said. “So you have to play every game like it’s going to be like the last one you ever get to play, because it may be. You have to practice every day like it will be the last practice you get to do anything because you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“So you have to be there and you have to be all in. And that’s all we do. Yes, this our ultimate goal. But we don’t have to talk about that goal all the time because it’s always in the foreground, without speaking.”