A defending state softball champion went down on Tuesday as play advance to the sectional finals Thursday, with area defending champions Sun Prairie, Poynette, and Horicon all advancing, while Monroe defeated defending D2 champ Whitnall on Tuesday night in sectional semifinal play.
In Division 1, Sectional 3, both #1 Verona and #2 Sun Prairie advanced with matching 3-2 victories. Verona defeated #4 DeForest, while defending champion Sun Prairie got past #3 Onalaska. Verona and Sun Prairie meet at Verona on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the sectional final. Verona swept Sun Prairie 2-1 and 2-0 in Big 8 play this season.
Division 1, Sectional 5 went upset again, with #4 Beloit Memorial blanking #1 Elkhorn 1-0 to advance, while #6 Wilmot Union beat #7 Oregon 3-1 to advance. Beloit Memorial faces Wilmot Union at Badger High School in Lake Geneva at 5 p.m. on Thursday in the final.
In Division 2, Sectional 3, #3 McFarland upended #4 Evansville 8-5 to advance to the sectional final, where they will face Monroe, fresh off of a 7-4 win over defending state champion Whitnall. You can read more about this game below.
Division 3, Sectional 3 went to the #1 seeds, as #1 Dodgeville defeated #2 Aquinas 4-3. On the other side of the bracket, defending champion #3 Poynette blasted #2 Lake Mills 8-0. Dodgeville and Poynette meet at 4 p.m. at Brodhead High School in the sectional final, 10 miles away from the Division 2, Sectional 3 final in Evansville.
In Division 4, Sectional 4, it took nine innings, but #1 Wisconsin Heights got past #2 Mineral Point 4-3, while defending champion #1 Horicon shut down #2 Johnson Creek 4-0. Wisconsin Heights will play Horicon at Mineral Point High School (or a site to be determined) Thursday at 5 p.m. with a trip to state on the line.
The Division 5, Sectional 3 sectional semifinal between #2 Highland and #1 Wauzeka-Steuben ended up a lopsided 16-0 win in five innings for Highland, who will travel to Blair-Taylor to take on the other #1 seed in the sectional on their home field on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Finally, in Division 5, Sectional 4, #1 Belmont upended #7 Southwestern 8-2, while last year's D5 runner-up #2 Oakfield pounded #1 Randolph 10-3. Belmont will host Oakfield on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Monroe holds off defending champion Whitnall en route to 7-4 sectional semifinal victory Tuesday
In a match-up of the #2- and #3-ranked teams in the state according to the WFPCA/WisSports.net Coaches Poll, it was the Monroe Cheesemakers (21-4) who came out on top, defeating the defending Division 2 state champion Whitnall Falcons (23-5) 7-4.
Monroe, who entered the contest as the #3 seed in the sub-sectional behind #2 Jefferson, who they defeated 4-2 last Thursday, and #1 Whitnall, got their upset bid started early. In the top of the first inning, Alyse Maurer led off with a single, and three batters later, Olivia Bobak crushed a home run over right-center to make it 2-0 Monroe.
Whitnall led off their half of the first inning with a single by Haley Wynn, who was batting .686 coming into the contest. Alyssa Trensch followed up with a walk, and with nobody out, the high-powered Whitnall Falcons appeared to be setting the table for a big run. Bobak then sent down the 3-4-5 hitters in the Falcons' order on strikeouts to retire the side and end the threat.
Monroe extended the lead in the top of the second, when Karis Paulson was driven in on a fielder's choice grounder to short by Sarah Prien, to 3-0. Bobak then struck out the side in the bottom of the second to maintain the 3-0 lead.
With two outs in the top of the third, Bobak drew a walk, and came around to score one batter later when Grace Tostrude blasted a double to the fence to make it 4-0 Cheesemakers after two and one-half innings.
In the bottom of the third, Bobak struck out her seventh straight Falcon, and picked up an eighth strikeout sandwiched around a two-out double by Trensch. The big story in the second inning, however, was when Wynn, Whitnall's top player and one of the very best players in the state, stepped on her bat on a check-swing grounder to short. The lower left leg injury took Wynn out of the game, robbing the Falcons of their top hitter and pitcher, although she tried to come out in the top of the fourth to pitch, but was unable to complete more than two warm-up tosses.
After Whitnall's Trensch took over in the top of the fourth pitching, Monroe was unable to score in the top half of the inning. In the obttom of the fourth, Whitnall finally got on the board when Lucy Plautz led off with a triple and came home on an error two batters later. The score was 4-1 Monroe after four innings complete.
Monroe got one run in the top of the fifth inning on a lead-off solo home run by Hailey Betthauser to extend the lead to 5-1. Trensch returned the favor in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot of her own, setting up the heart of the order for additional damage. Abby Cunningham walked, and came around to score two batters later when Jessica Vallier doubled to make the score 5-3 Monroe.
After a scoreless top half of the sixth for Monroe, Bobak struck out the side for the second time in the game in the bottom half of the frame, picking up her 12th, 13th, and 14th strikeouts of the contest.
Monroe added some insurance in the top half of the sventh inning, as Bobak singled and was brought on a no-doubter home run by Grace Tostrud to extend the lead to 7-3 Monroe.
Whitnall's last stand was the bottom of the seventh, which began with a leadoff double by Cunningham. Bobak struck the next batter out for #15 on the afternoon, and then got a rounder to third for the second out of the inning. Kayla Hartig singled in Cunningham to trim the margin to 7-4 Monroe, but then Bobak got her 16th strikeout of the game one batter later, her 200th strikeout of the season, as the Cheesemakers took down the #1 seed and defending state champions 7-4 on Tuesday afternoon at Whitnall High School.
Monroe will face McFarland, a fellow #3 seed, at Evansville High School on Thursday afternoon with a trip to state on the line.
M: 2-1-1-0-1-0-2=7 7|12|1
W: 0-0-0-1-2-0-1=4 4|8|0
WP: Olivia Bobak (20-2) CG, 16K
HR: Monroe: Bobak (4), T1 2R 2O; Betthauser (6), T5 1R 0O; Tostrud (4), T7 2R 1O. Whitnall: Trensch (1), B5 1R 0O.
W: Cloudy, 53^, Winds NE (across left to right) 9mph
Whitnall High School