Lightning upends defending state champ Kaukauna

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Appleton North defeated Kaukauna, 4-2, in a Fox Valley Association softball game Tuesday. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)

KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- The last time Kaukauna was competing on a softball field it was winning the Division 1 state championship last spring.

But entering Tuesday's season opener, that didn't matter. At least not to Appleton North.

The Lightning struck for two runs in the top of the first inning, never trailed and beat the Ghosts, 4-2, in a Fox Valley Association opener for both teams.

"First step, we're really going to enjoy it tonight, but we understand our goals are higher than this," North pitcher Marissa Mullen said. "We did not consider this an upset."

"Kaukauna's been the benchmark in this conference for a long time," North coach Mike Mullen said. "They're a super-quality program so anytime you can come in here with a win. It's areal positive thing for our team."

North (5-1) opened its season in Florida, but its first game in Wisconsin the Lightning didn't take long to heat up in the 40-degree weather. North scored twice in the top of the first inning, showing its bats were ready.

"This year, we're really excited about our lineup," Marissa Mullen said. "We have good hitters, one through nine, so that's definitely going to be our strength this year. It was nice to get off to a good start this game."

The end wasn't either as Bailee Fritz smacked a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning.

"We went to Florida and we swung the bats very well down there so we came in confident," Mike Mullen said. "We barreled-up pretty strongly early in the game."

The win was notable for North, but there wasn't a celebration afterwards. In the team huddle afterwards, North talked about keeping the season in perspective.

"It's great win, but it's one win," Mike Mullen said. "It's an 18-game FVA season. I'm real proud how our team came out."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay