Wilmot juniors Haley Lamberson (left) and Madison Zerr share words of encouragement during last year’s WIAA Division 1 state softball championship against Kaukauna. Both are two of five returning starters from the state runner-up team (File Photo/The Report).

By Jason Arndt
Editor

The Wilmot Union High School softball team made a statement last season, one in which the Panthers finished as runners-up in the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. However, second-year coach Jenny Jacobson said her squad has no plans to take any opponents lightly.

The opponents, Jacobson added, include the Southern Lakes Conference slate.

“I think we are definitely in the running to be one of the top teams in our conference again,” said Jacobson, whose team (22-5 overall) finished 12-2 for second place in the SLC. “There will be a lot of good, tough conference games, and we cannot discredit any of the teams. It should be a good season and exciting one.”

Wilmot, however, will be without the services of departing seniors Kalyssa Koehn, Taylor Danielson, Riley Regnier and Sarah Hutchinson.

Collectively, Koehn, Danielson and Regnier hit 21 home runs with 92 RBIs last year.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson logged 128 innings and compiled a 16-3 record as the Panthers’ leading pitcher.

Despite the losses, Jacobson believes the five returning starters — senior captains Montana Platts, Anna Devall and Hayli Richards and juniors Haley Lamberson and Madi Zerr — can help the Panthers stay competitive and perhaps make a return trip to state.

“We definitely lost four great players, and they are tough shoes to fill,” Jacobson said. “I think having five returning starters will help us because they have the experience on their side.”

Additionally, the Panthers welcome back outfielders Sami Christiansen (junior), Kenzi Ketterhagen (sophomore) and Ashley Beasley (junior).

Wilmot also brings in junior Ambriel Siggeman and freshman Anna Wischnowski.

“It comes down to working together as one team and that success can come when you do so,” Jacobson said. “They got to see and experience that very fact last season.”

Three seniors will serve as team captains of this year’s Wilmot Union High School softball team. From left: Hayli Richards, Anna Devall and Montana Platts.

Captains lead the infield
Platts, a strong-armed infielder committed to play for Division I UW-Green Bay, is coming off a junior season in which she batted .419 and belted three home runs with 16 RBIs to earn second team all-conference.

Richards, who will play for Division 2 University of Missouri-St. Louis, finished her junior season with four doubles, five home runs and 13 RBIs and batted .378.

Catcher Devall enters the season as the team’s leading power hitter, finishing third among Panthers with seven home runs along with 19 RBIs. The future UW-La Crosse player earned conference honorable mention.

Athletic outfield
In the outfield, where the Panthers tout Lamberson, who earned first team all-conference, they also feature Zerr and fleet-footed Ketterhagen.

As a sophomore, Lamberson collected 35 hits, three doubles and batted .427.

“Their speed and athleticism will be beneficial for us, not only defensively, but offensively when they are on base,” Jacobson said.

Zerr, who made critical plays in left field during last year’s state tournament, was named conference honorable mention in her versatile sophomore season.

While Zerr hit .324 and collected six doubles, she also contributed in the pitcher’s circle, where she compiled a 6-1 record and struck out 32 through 48 innings.

“Not only was (Zerr) a key figure in the outfield last year, she also pitched some tough games,” said Jacobson, who called Zerr one-half of the double threat on the mound.

Strong pitching
With Zerr’s return and Wischnowski’s promising future, the pitching staff excites Jacobson.

“Anna Wischnowski is a freshman pitcher who shows much promise for our team, not only this year, but in the years to come,” she said. “I am very excited for Madi and Anna being a double threat.”

 
 

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