Hestekin’s heat too much for Wilmot

By Jason Arndt

With an opposing pitcher set to play for the Wisconsin Badgers, the Wilmot Union High School softball team’s resiliency had a limit in Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state championship at Madison’s Goodman Field.

The Panthers, who entered play with a 16-game win streak, saw a steady mix of drop balls, curve balls and a blazing fastball from Kaukauna’s Haley Hestekin, who struck out 11 to help the Ghosts win the state championship 3-1.

Unlike pitchers Wilmot played before, Hestekin went up and down, compared to left and right to catch the Panthers off-guard.

Panthers’ coach Jenny Jacobson acknowledged the Panthers struggled to keep up with Heteskin’s arsenal of pitches.

“There really is nothing (we could do), we stressed watching the pitches, being patient,” said Jacobson. “She has got a killer drop ball, drop curveball, so we got caught up in that.”

While the Panthers anticipated most of her drop pitches, Hestekin countered with a rise ball, which left most Panthers swinging.

Hestekin, who allowed one earned run on six hits, walked none.

For Panthers senior Sarah Hutchinson, with exception to strikeouts and two additional earned runs, she matched the rest of Hestekin’s totals.

Through seven innings, Hutchinson walked none, struck out two and allowed three earned runs on six hits.

In the top off the first inning, the Panthers jumped to an early 1-0 lead, courtesy of a senior Kalyssa Koehn two-out double to score sophomore Haley Lamberson, who singled to lead off the contest.

Koehn’s run-scoring double, meanwhile, was Hestiken’s first run allowed in the state tournament after shutting out Oshkosh North and Stevens Point.

Koehn, along with junior Montana Platts, each had two hits against Hestekin.

“They are good sticks, they have unbelievable sticks,” said Kaukauna coach Tim Roehrig about the Panthers’ duo. “They are committed to play college softball for a reason.”

The Ghosts, however, answered in the bottom of the first inning on a Taylor Kuske single to plate Sidney Miller to deadlock the contest at 1-1.

Entering the bottom of the third inning, Kaukauna posted the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run, after a Kuske double to score Megan Huss, who advanced on a fielders choice.

Huss, who hit a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning, added the Ghosts third run on a Hutchinson wild pitch.

Memorable year
Despite ending their season with a loss, Jacobson believes her Panthers’ team can look back on the state appearance as a positive and memorable moment of their life.

Jacobson, who recalled a Tweeted quote, said “trophies collect dust, memories last forever.”

“Just to look back, we came a lot farther than anyone ever expected,” Jacobson said. “They went to state, they are going to be forever in the history books for this.”

Wilmot finished its season 24-5.


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