Prep Softball Round-up: Regular season over, tourney season about to begin
The 2022 prep softball regular season concluded this week and last and the tournament season begins this Thursday, May 19 with WIAA regional tournament play which runs until next Thursday, May 26.
Fall Creek had the best record of the Tri-County Area's four teams at 19-6. The Crickets finished with a 19-6 overall record, finishing second in the Western Cloverbelt Conference with an 11-3 record. They won on Tuesday, May 17 over Loyal/Greenwood in five innings 18-2. Winning pitcher Sam Olson tossed a one-hitter and FC exploded for nine runs in the fourth inning to break open what was a 4-1 game at the time led by Olson's three hits and four RBIs and three hits and three RBIs from Kennedy Tumm. The Crickets wrap up their regular sesason Thursday, May 19 at home vs. Neillsville.
The Crickets' overall record put them as a No. 1 seed in the sectional half-bracket of the WIAA Division 4 Shell Lake Sectional, giving them a first-round bye. They will host a Division 4 regional semifinal game next Tuesday, May 24 at home against either No. 8 seed Spring Valley or No. 9 seeded Glenwood City. FC went 3-1 last week, losing only to Thorp 7-5 back on Thursday, May 12. The Crickets swept a doubleheader at home against rival Osseo-Fairchild 10-0 and 12-1 back on Tuesday, May 12. Fall Creek outhit the Thunder 26-8 for both games. In Game One, Sophie Johnson went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, Tumm also went a perfect 3-for-3 with four RBIs, Hannah Herrem had two hits and two RBIs, Olson blasted a two-run homer and Beki Hutchinson had two hits. In Game 2, Riley Nicks went 3-for-4 with an RBI, Catrina Cline had two hits and two RBIs, Herrum had two hits and three RBIs, Averie Barka had two hits and a run batted and Kennedy Gruhlke had two hits as well. O-F's leading hitters in the two games were Trinity Knudtson 2-for-2 with a double in Game 1 and Lacey Frase in Game 2, 2-for-3 with an RBI. Against Cadott on Friday, May 12, FC won 16-6 at home with Jenna Fitch getting the win and Cline having a perfect hitting day 3-for-3 and Johnson hitting a double, triple and three RBIs.
Actually, Osseo-Fairchild has one more regular season contest, Thursday, May 19 at home vs. Altoona at 5 p.m. A win could help them extend their winning streak after they had lost five in a row, including an 8-5 defeat last week Thursday, May 12 at home to Chippewa Falls McDonell when the Macks scored four runs in the top of the seventh, spoiling a three-RBI game for Rhi Prudlick, a two-hit and an RBI game for Trinity Knudtson and a two-hit game for Katie Skoug. O-F snapped that losing streak with an 11-2 win at Stanley-Boyd on Friday, May 13. The Thunder scored a decisive five runs in the sixth inning and outhit the Orioles 14-5 while taking advantage of four S-B errors. Madisyn Loonstra was the winning pitcher, tossing a five-hitter. O-F's top hitters were Knudtson with a double and four RBIs, Eleice Dahl, 3-for-4, Taylor Gunderson, two hits and three RBIs and Loonstra had two hits as well. The Thunder improved their overall record to 7-9 (6-8 in the Western Cloverbelt) with a 5-1 win at Augusta on Tuesday, May 17 in a rescheduled contest. O-F is the seventh seed in their WIAA Division 4 New Lisbon Sectional half-bracket and they are at No. 2 seed Loyal/Greenwood (13-5) on Tuesday, May 24 with the winning taking on No. 3 seed Melrose-Mindoro or No. 6 seed Cochrane-Fountain City in the regional finals.
Augusta's first tournament game is on Thursday, May 19 and it is a home contest against No. 9 seed Brookwood (8-13). The winner plays at top-seed Bangor next Tuesday in the New Lisbon Sectional. The Beavers finished the regular season 10-11 overall (8-10 in the Dairyland Conference). AHS also lost earlier this week, 11-0 to No. 2 ranked and undefeated Dairyland Conference champion Blair-Taylor. Last week Augusta went 3-1, defeating Alma/Pepin 3-2 on Tuesday, May 10, splitting a doubleheader with Cochrane-Fountain City on Thursday, May 12 (1-5 and 8-3) the latter win being the Beavers first over the Pirates in eight years. Winning pitcher Sam Winsce tossed a five-hitter with six strikeouts and just one walk. Kenndy Korger had two hits for Augusta, including a triple and AHS' Emma Lee belted a home run. Winsce struck out 12 Alma/Pepin batters and Korger had two hits, including a homer against the Eagles which won the ballgame in the seventh.
Outside of the forfeit wins over Whitehall this season, Eleva-Strum (2-17 overall, 2-16 in the DC) was unable to get a win on the field. However, the Cardinals still displayed solid effort and almost got a couple wins last week and this, losing 6-3 to Melrose-Mindoro in Game 1 of a doubleheader last week Thursday, May 12 at Central (they lost the second game 21-3), lost 7-6 at Independence/Gilmanton on Friday, May 13 and 9-6 at Lincoln on Monday, May 16. Perhaps No. 10 seed E-S can get that win in a first round, Division 5 regional contest at No. 7 seed DeSoto (6-9) on Thursday, May 19. The winner plays at No. 2 seed Hillsboro next Tuesday.