Wilmot won another regional title last Thursday, when the Panthers defeated Waterford 11-1. (Earlene Frederick/The Report).

By Jason Arndt

Once again, Westosha Central and Wilmot will meet in a WIAA Division 1 sectional softball contest, and marks the third time this season the two county rivals will come face-to-face.

The showdown scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wilmot comes after both teams won regional titles last Thursday, when the top-seeded Panthers defeated No. 8 Waterford 11-1 in five innings, while Westosha Central, a No. 4 seed, edged No. 12 Janesville Craig 9-3.

The winner of the sectional semifinal, meanwhile, will play either second-seeded Burlington or No. 6 Elkhorn in Thursday’s sectional final.

Panthers coach Jenny Jacobson, whose team split the season series with the Falcons, looks forward to the meeting and believes Wilmot is ready.

“We are ready for them,” said Jacobson, whose team improved to 17-3 following Thursday’s win.

Wilmot, which won 2-1 on a cold and windy day, dropped the second contest to the Falcons 16-14.

In the last three seasons, where both teams met in sectionals, the Falcons own a 2-1 record.

The Panthers lone win came last year, when they defeated the Falcons 11-9 in the sectional final, which earned them a state berth where they finished as runner-up to Kaukauna.

No. 1 Wilmot 11, No. 8 Waterford 1
Panthers left-handed pitcher Madi Zerr, who overcame to two turbulent innings to start the contest, helped her own cause at the plate in the bottom of the first inning.

After Montana Platts hit a one-out double, Zerr  hit a home run to nearly dead center field to give the Panthers a 2-0 edge.

Platts, who went 2 for 4, also collected a stolen base and made a key defensive stop at shortstop in the fourth inning.

“She did what she had to do by getting on base and also on the field,” Zerr said about Platts.

Zerr, who entered the top of the second inning with three strikeouts, loaded the bases with none out.

The junior hurler, however, struck out the next two hitters before forcing Waterford’s Ashley Baker to get out of the jam.

Zerr, through four innings, fanned seven hitters, walked four and allowed an earned run on five hits.

Jacobson, crediting Zerr for her resilience, knew she would find a way.

“Madi is a fierce competitor, she never wants to give up and that is what has led her to be the pitcher she has been this year,” she said. “She is a different person from last year, she is much stronger, she throws hard and knows her team is behind her.”

Zerr, meanwhile, said she would not have left the second unscathed without the team behind her.

“They helped me out on the field making plays,” she said.

Wilmot added a run in the bottom of the second inning, courtesy of a Haley Lamberson double, which scored Ambriel Siggeman.

In the three-run bottom of the third inning, Anna Wischnowski led off with a walk, and later scored on a Hayli Richards double.

Siggeman, who went 3 for 3 to lead the team, then scored both Richards and Anna Devall, who singled.

The Wolverines, meanwhile, responded in the next inning with its lone run when Jemma Fiehwig hit a double to score Natalie Horn. Horn hit a leadoff single.

Wilmot, however, added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Wischnowski, who batted 2 for 3 with two RBIs, knocked in the first of three runs on a single to score Kenzi Ketterhagen.

Zerr, the next hitter, drew and intentional walk and then scored with Wischnowski when Devall hit a double to extend the Wilmot lead to 9-1.

The Panthers posted their last two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, where Platts scored Ashley Beasley, who advanced on a fielder’s choice. Wischnowski capped off the contest with a run-scoring single to plate Ketterhagen, who also singled.

Ketterhagen finished 2 for 2 with two runs scored.

The Panthers win, according to Jacobson, boiled down to timely hitting and patience.

“Once again, it just came down to being patient at the plate, and being smart at the plate,” she said.

For the Wolverines, they squandered run-scoring opportunities in the first two innings, where five runners were left on base.

Krueger, crediting the Panthers aggressive offense, said the Wolverines struggled to capitalize.

“They are always a good hitting team, we had some fielding errors, but we left our heart out on the field,” he said. “We left too many runners on base in the first two innings.”

Waterford finished its season 10-12.

No. 4 Westosha Central 9, No. 12 Janesville Craig 3
Olivia Kazumura, coming off a 12-strikeout performance in the win against Lake Geneva Badger in the first round of regionals, produced another stellar performance in the Falcons 9-3 defeat of Janesville Craig.

Kazumura, who picked up her 14th win of the season, allowed one earned run on one hit, struck out nine and walked three in five innings.

According to Westosha Central co-coach Tom Lampe, Kazumura has been a key figure in his team’s recent run, where the Falcons have won seven of their last eight games.

“Olivia had another solid outing,” he said. “She has been a key component.”

The Falcons, who trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the first inning, responded by scoring two runs in each of the next two innings followed by a three-run third inning.

Becca Edwards, who batted 3 for 4 with two RBIs, knocked in her first run on a triple to plate Kayla Kerkman, who led off with a single, and then scored on a single by Andrea Edquist.

In the two-run second inning, where the Falcons extended their lead to 4-1, Alex Kelly and Haley Hovland both singled and scored on a Janesville Craig fielding error. Hovland scored when Kerkman grounded out.

The following inning, Westosha Central jumped to a 7-1 lead, courtesy of an Edquist double to score Edwards, who singled.

Abby Jones then scored on a single by Kazumura with Ellie Christeson adding the third run after a Rylee Johnson groundout.

Christeson and Molly Grabarac added a run apiece in the sixth inning.

“We did a good job at the plate. There wasn’t too much we missed out there. Even our outs were hard hit. We seem to going in the right direction. We will need to keep that up to keep moving on.” said Lampe, whose team improved to 19-8 overall.

Janesville Craig, which dropped to 12-14, scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning.


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