The Panthers showcase their new sectional title plaque following their 5-3 win against Beloit Memorial on Thursday in Lake Geneva (Jason Arndt/The Report).

SECTIONAL FINAL: (6) WILMOT 5, (4) BELOIT MEMORIAL 3 – 8 innings

Panthers Madi Zerr posted another stellar outing Thursday against fourth-seeded Beloit Memorial to help Wilmot advance to the WIAA Division 1 state championship series in Madison (Photo Courtesy of Nick Parisi).

Wilmot Union High School scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning and sophomore Anna Wischnowski shut the door in the bottom half to capture a WIAA Division 1 sectional softball title Thursday in Lake Geneva.

The sixth-seeded Panthers, who defeated No. 4 Beloit Memorial 5-3, will head to the WIAA Division 1 state championship series at Goodman Diamond on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus for the second time in three seasons.

Left-hander Madi Zerr, meanwhile, tossed seven innings to pick up the victory for the Panthers.

Zerr entered Thursday’s sectional final with three straight post-season wins, starting with a 4-3 regional semifinal victory against Fort Atkinson and later claimed the regional title with an 8-3 victory win at Westosha Central.

The Report will have more on the Panthers’ sectional title, including thoughts from Zerr, Wischnowski and Wilmot coach Jenny Jacobson, at this link and in next week’s print edition.

Wilmot advanced to the sectional final after defeating seventh-seeded Oregon on Tuesday.

Here is the story on the sectional semifinal:

WIAA SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL: (6) WILMOT 3, (7) OREGON 1

Patience, persistence pays off for Wilmot

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

Patience, patience and more patience.

That is what it took for the Wilmot Union High School softball team in a 3-1 WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal victory against seventh-seeded Oregon on Tuesday.

With the win, No. 6 Wilmot advances to its second sectional final in three years on Thursday, when the Panthers play fourth-seeded Beloit Memorial at Lake Geneva Badger with the winner heading to the state championship series in Madison.

Beloit Memorial, which defeated top-seeded Elkhorn, boasts an 18-6 overall record and finished 14-4 in the Big
Eight Conference.

The Panthers, who improved to 17-9, captured the win behind senior Madi Zerr’s stellar pitching performance and a three-run fifth inning sparked by her two-run double.

Zerr’s victory comes after a brief hiccup in the top of the first inning, where visiting Oregon posted its lone run on an Erin Newton double to score Sam Mikkelson, who led off with a single.

From there, Zerr only allowed one hit, which happened in the top of the seventh inning on a single by Emily Crowe.

Left-handed Zerr struck out eight, walked one and allowed one earned run on three hits through seven innings to earn the win.

“Once again, her pitching on the mound was stellar. She had a couple hiccups right away but then settled down,” said Panthers’ coach Jenny Jacobson. “She hasn’t lost her composure, she hasn’t lost her edge and that is coming from the years of experience she had starting as a sophomore.”

Zerr, however, contended with Oregon pitcher Kenadee Nelson.

While Nelson struck out four and walked four, she allowed three earned runs on four hits, including two in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Senior Haley Lamberson’s one-out single followed by sophomore Josephine Beinecke’s walk sent Zerr to the plate, where she smashed an opposite-field double, which scored both runners to pull Wilmot ahead 2-1.

Zerr said patience and persistence was key in neutralizing Nelson.

“We changed our approach at bat, so in the first few innings, we were jittery and we just wanted to hit,” Zerr said. “Then our coaches told us we needed to work the count and frustrate her.”

Sophomore Anna Wischnowski then grounded out but scored Zerr’s courtesy runner, who advanced to third on a Nelson wild pitch.

Jacobson credited her team’s resilience, even when the Panthers left runners in scoring position in the first, third and fourth innings.

“They didn’t give up, so every inning there was a little bit of fight,” she said.

Defensively, Zerr had plenty of support, notably in the outfield where Lamberson logged five putouts, including three in shallow center field.

“She was a great all-around player today and is always a great all-around player,” Zerr said about Lamberson. “She can make key plays anywhere.”

Jacobson agreed.

“That is why she has been first-team all-conference as an outfielder; that performance right there seals the deal,” she said. “She is one of the best outfielders I have ever worked with.”

Oregon concluded its season 15-9.

 
 

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