Senior Sarah Hutchinson, center, is all smiles after she tossed a complete game shutout in Thursday’s 4-0 WIAA Division 1 state semifinal victory (Jason Arndt/The Report).

WIAA Division 1 State Semifinal (7 p.m. Friday)
No. 2 Wilmot (23-4, 12-2 Southern Lakes) vs. No. 1 Oak Creek (29-1, 14-0 Southeast)

By Jason Arndt

After winning its WIAA Division 1 quarterfinal Thursday morning (updated story below, with quotes), next up for the Wilmot Union High School softball squad is a clash with Oak Creek, which defeated Menomonee Falls 6-1.

The semifinal slated to start at 7 p.m., is a rematch for the Knights, who lost their only game of the season against Wilmot in the April 22 Western Kenosha County Invitational.

According to a May 22 Wisconsin Softball Coaches Association poll, the Panthers are No. 4 in the state while the Knights are a step above them at No. 3.

About the first meeting
In the April 22 contest, the Panthers edged the Knights 8-1, behind multi-hit performances by Taylor Danielson (2-for-4, two runs), Montana Platts (2-for-3, three runs, RBI), Riley Regnier (2-for-4), Sarah Hutchinson (2-for-3, RBI) and Haley Lamberson (2-for-4, two runs).

Additionally, Kalyssa Koehn was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

Overall, the Panthers stole a collective 11 bases, including four by Platts, who successfully stole home twice.

2017 State Softball Tournament
Schedule, results, courtesy of WIAA

Thursday’s scores:
Division 1 Quarterfinal – Wilmot 4, Germantown 0
Division 1 Quarterfinal – Oak Creek 6, Menomonee Falls 1
Division 1 Quarterfinal – Kaukauna 2, Oshkosh North 0
Division 1 Quarterfinal – Stevens Point 6, Sun Prairie 0
Division 5 Semifinal – McDonell Central 5, Belmont 4

In progress:
Division 5 Semifinal – Wausaukee vs. Blair-Taylor
Division 4 Semifinal – Phillips vs. Juda/Albany

Friday, June 9
Session 4 –
8 a.m. – Division 4 Semifinal (Shiocton vs. Pacelli)
10 a.m. – Division 3 Semifinal (Bloomer vs. Laconia)
Noon – Division 3 Semifinal (Weyauwega-Fremont vs. Marshall)

Session 5 –
2:30 p.m. – Division 2 Semifinal (Rice Lake vs. Kewaskum)
4:30 p.m. – Division 2 Semifinal (New London vs. Turner)

Session 6 –
7 p.m. – Division 1 Semifinal (Wilmot vs. Oak Creek)
9 p.m. – Division 1 Semifinal (Kaukauna vs. Stevens Point)

Saturday, June 10
Session 7 – 8 a.m. – Division 5 Championship
Session 8 – approx. 10:30 a.m. – Division 4 Championship
Session 9 – approx. 1 p.m. – Division 3 Championship
Session 10 – approx 4 p.m. – Division 2 Championship
Session 11 – approx. 6:30 p.m. – Division 1 Championship

Behind two home runs and a Sarah Hutchinson complete game, Wilmot Union High School shut down Germantown 4-0 in Thursday’s WIAA Division 1 state quarterfinal, which moves the Panthers to Friday’s state semifinal.

The Panthers, who won their 15th consecutive game, improved to 23-4 with the quarterfinal shutout.

According to Panthers’ coach Jenny Jacobson, the wins were a collective effort, which included extra practice time on the field.

“They are seeing the ball so well and they have worked so hard,” Jacobson said. “It just goes through the extra effort that a lot of these girls are doing, with hitting coaches, in practice.”

Meanwhile, for Hutchinson, she allowed just three hits and struck out nine through seven innings.

“I just tried to keep the ball away as much as I could,” said Hutchinson, who made adjustments from her sectional final contest against Westosha Central. “I put a lot of work from the Central game until now, focusing on what I know I could do.”

While Hutchinson breezed through the Germantown order, the Panthers offense gave her early insurance, courtesy of a senior Taylor Danielson two-run home run in the top of the first inning, plating junior third baseman Montana Platts.

“They took the pressure off of me right away, when we score early, it is a great feeling,” Hutchinson said.

Platts, who was 2-for-4, also pushed in a run on a Germantown fielding error in the top of the second inning to score sophomore Madison Zerr.

Although Germantown starter Carly Szada kept some Panther hitters off balance, Platts acknowledged most of her pitches were at the same speed, but kept the ball away.

“She was keeping it pretty much outside, she threw a lot of changes, it kept us off balance,” Platts said. “I didn’t really see any inside pitches and knew everything would be outside.”

In the top of the second inning, the Panthers added two more, starting with a two-out solo home run by junior Hayli Richards.

After Richards’ home run, Zerr singled to centerfield and later scored on an error by Warhawks’ right fielder Lauren Arnholdt.

The four runs were all Hutchinson needed, as the senior cruised through the next four innings, but got into a jam in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Communication, defense protects shutout
Hutchinson, who loaded the bases after a fielding error, hit by pitch and walk, saw her team rush to the pitcher’s circle to offer assurance.

“They told me I they were behind me, whatever happens,” Hutchinson said.

Danielson, the catcher, did not doubt her battery mate’s ability to get out of the critical bases loaded situation.

“She was doing a great job, she was throwing it exactly where it needed to go, I was really proud of her,” Danielson said. “She is mentally tough and I believed in her all the way.”

With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Zerr caught a sharp liner in left field, and in turn, threw out a runner at second base for the double play to end the threat.

Szada took the loss for Germantown after she allowed three earned runs, struck out five and allowed six hits through seven innings.

Germantown concludes its season at 17-9.


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