PULASKI, Wis. (WFRV) – As the Pulaski softball team gears up for a sectionals matchup, head coach Billi Vertz has to prep her team while also balancing a special relationship. Vertz’s daughter Morgan is the Red Raiders’ starting pitcher.
But this isn’t the first time Vertz has worked closely with a family member on the diamond. From 1992-94, Billi Vertz (maiden name Kapla) was the starting pitcher for the Ashwaubenon Jaguars and led the team to three straight state titles. Her twin sister Bobby was the team’s catcher.
“Softball has given me so much over the years. I think a lot of these young ladies, years from now, are going to realize those little things it’s taught you. And I hope they feel it on the other end,” said Vertz, reflecting on how much the sport has meant to her.
Though Morgan grew up around softball, mom Billi didn’t know if her daughter would follow in her footsteps.
“I was kind of hoping she wouldn’t want to be a pitcher.” But when Billi heard thuds on Morgan’s childhood door and found the young girl practicing pitching from a duct-tape mound with balled-up socks, she knew where Morgan’s heart was.
“I guess I just fell in love while being around with it my whole life,” said the Pulaski junior. Morgan has gone on to be a premiere pitcher in the FRCC, winning Co-Player of the Year and earning First Team All-Conference honors this season.
After more than 30 years around softball, Billi Kapla Vertz is still loving the sport as much as she did while in uniform. She and her daughter look to soak up the most of their final games together before Morgan pitches in college.
Morgan’s quest to pitch in a state championship game like her mom continues as Pulaski takes on Green Bay Preble in the Division 1 Sectionals on Tuesday, May 30.