Home Runs Hurt Shawano
Denmark 6, Shawano 3
The Shawano Hawks raced out to a quick 3-0 lead in the opening inning against Denmark. Brandi Gueths belted a two-run homerun to score Kate Hoffman and Erin Cerveny would continue her tear with a solo blast to follow, but that would be all the Hawks would manage against Denmark pitcher Grace Nys. Trailing 3-1 heading to the fourth, Taylor Wochenske and Abby Metz hit back-to-back homeruns to tie the game 3-3 and the Vikings would take the lead for good on a two-RBI single by Leah Hanson to send them to the sectional finals. Kate Hoffman of was the only Hawks batter to collect multiple hits; she went 3-for-4. The seven hits produced by Shawano was the most that Nys has allowed so far in the postseason, but it wouldn’t be enough to continue their year.
Porath Hits Keeps New London Alive
New London 3, Freedom 2 (9 Inning)
New London advanced to their fifth straight Sectional Final on the heals of Leah Porath’s defense and hitting. The Bulldogs scored all their runs in the final three innings of 3-2 win over Freedom in 9 innings. The Bulldogs struggled early, only getting three hits against Peyton Dorn in the first six innings. New London was unable to score, but stranded 8 runners. Freedom Coach Mike Vanderloop said that was a credit to his defense.
“I thought we did a good job minimizing damage after their got base runners on.”
Freedom jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Lori Meyer. The score stayed 1-0 until the 7th inning, when what appeared to be a solo home run by Lauren Winkler was reversed to a ground rule double.
“Was it a home run, I don’t know, but after that we just kept going and that is what we have to do” said New London Coach Tony Porath.
Leah Porath drove Winkler home two batters later to tie the game.
“We had one hit through seven innings. My thought was if the ball was put in play, I was going to do anything I could to get the run to score.” said Vanderloop. “They have to make a play, and you have to give them credit because they did. If I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing.”
“It feels awesome, but not one person won that game. We had team chemistry and it feels awesome to pull out a win like that.”
In the 9th, New London drew a pair of walks, and Dorn gave up another hit to Porath, this one drove in two and the Bulldogs led 3-1. In the bottom half of the 9th, Freedom scored after Abby Cardew nearly ran Brooke Garrett off the bases, but a throwing error by the Bulldogs allowed the run to score.
“We said we have been in this situation before, we have a great defense and we have pulled it out before, so let’s go do it” Leah Porath commented.
With Cardew on third, Peyton Dorn grounded out to Leah Porath and Molly O’Connell was able to fire home to complete the double play with the final out of the game coming at the plate.
“It came right to me so I had a lot of time, and I wanted to make sure to look her back so she did not go right away. Our first baseman has a great arm and our catcher made a great catch” Porath added.
“We had a few opportunities and I felt we were at a good spot in our order, and all we needed was a run” said Vanderloop.
Porath earned the win with 5 hits and 3 strikeouts, and also fielded 7 ground ball outs.
“Leah got ahead on most of our batters, and she had her change up working. I was frustrated that we took all those first pitches” Mike Vanderloop said.
At the plate, Porath was 3 for 5 with 3 RBI, getting half of the teams hits against Peyton Dorn who took the loss with 9 strikeouts. Dorn had two hits to lead Freedom at the plate.
Vanderloop said it came down to opportunities.
“They took advantage of one more opportunity then we did, and one of the teams is going to walk away disappointed, and this time it was us. ”
The win marks the third straight year that New London topped Freedom in the postseason, and it came down to another exciting finish.
“I just tip my hat to Freedom, that was the most exciting game this year, and I just am so happy the girls did not cave in at the end there. Anyone could have won that game.”
5 Run Inning Propels Pulaski
Pulaski 7, Bay Port 4
In 14 regular season innings against Bay Port’s Sydney LaPoint, Pulaski totaled just two runs. In the second inning of Tuesday’s sectional semi-final matchup between the two teams, they more than doubled that total, striking for five, which came courtesy of three home runs.
The Red Raiders took advantage of a hard-blowing wind to left field on their way to the 7-4 win over their FRCC rival and their first in three meetings this season.
Pulaski added two runs of insurance throughout the rest of the game to provide plenty of cushion for FRCC Co-Player of the Year Liz Pautz, who worked a complete-game, giving up four runs on six hits and striking out 13.
“I was in awe for them,” Pautz said after her team’s big second inning. “It was amazing to see them do that and work for me on offense, but I had to get back in the working zone, keep my composure on the mound especially, so I think that was a key.”
The big inning featured two-run home runs from Riley Rasmussen and Jenna Socha, while Kelsey Berna added a solo blast.
“It’s a game of managing emotions,” said Pulaski coach Billie Jo Vertz. “We always want to celebrate the ups and we want to deal with the downs, but we always say we want to get in that white noise, that working zone. There were a couple times our coaches brought [the team] together and said we’re up, we have a long game left, so we have to bring it back down. Don’t expect that they’re going to just lay down because they’re a great team.”
Pautz would give a run back to the Pirates in the home half of the second, but managed to work her way out of trouble in the third by striking out Sydney LaPoint and Maddy Ehlke with two in scoring position.
Bay Port would strike back for three runs in the fourth inning to make it 6-4, getting a big two-run double from Gabby Every, but Pulaski never wavered.
Pautz responded with a shutdown inning in the fifth before her team produced a big insurance run from an RBI double by Kristin Burdeau to push the lead back to three for good. Burdeau finished 4-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI.
Every would be the only other Pirate to reach base in the final two innings and was cut down trying to take third on a passed ball by cater Mallory Reuchel to end the game and send Pulaski into the sectional final.
“We worked hard to get to this point,” said Pautz. “We lost two conference games to them, so getting this win was definitely important to us. We worked so hard to get to this point, taking extra hits and balls in the field, so we were prepared for this game.”
With the win, Pulaski will face top-seeded Kaukauna who defeated Green Bay Preble 2-1, but the Red Raiders are only one game away from making a return trip to state.
“Having experience is tremendous and having six seniors is invaluable, so even though everyone is feeling the excitement, they’ve been there,” said coach Vertz. “You’re just wanting them to relax and let their natural abilities take over at that point.”
Pulaski and Kaukauna will play at Kimberly High School and can be heard live on WOWN-99.3 FM.
Kaukauna 2, Green Bay Preble 1
Kaukauna scored all their runs on a single hit in the second inning, and held on for a 2-1 win over Green Bay Preble.
Oshkosh North 15, West Bend West 0 (F/3)
Watertown 5, Oshkosh West 3
Weyauwega-Fremont 4, Oconto 0
Kiley Akey had another gem with a two hit shutout that led Weyauwega-Fremont into the Sectional Finals with a 4-0 win over Oconto. Akey struck out 10 Oconto batters. Cadyn Ehrenberg was 3 for 4 with a triple.
Shiocton 5, Coleman 1
Shiocton used the long ball to top Coleman 5-1. Coleman led 1-0 in the fourth before Jackie Korth tied the game with a single. Gabby Gunderson hit a three run home run to put the game out of reach. Sydney Wilcox made it tough on the Coleman batters with 16 strikeouts.
Pacelli 3, Horicon 0
Wausaukee 5, St. Thomas Aquinas/Lena 4 (F/8)
Torri Jewett’s hit in the bottom of the 8th gave Wausaukee a 5-4 win over St. Thomas Aquinas Lena in walk off fashion 5-4. Jewett ended the game with three hits.