Waupun ousts Beloit Turner at state softball
MADISON—Two doubles to the left-field wall changed the complexion of a WIAA Division 2 state semifinal softball game Friday night.
Tessa Mikkelson's blast off the top of the barrier woke Beloit Turner's offense after five sleepy innings.
Waupun junior Kyra Verheyen's smack in the same direction one inning later snatched a spot in the state championship game right from the Trojans' grasp.
Verheyen's double scored Warriors senior McKenna Keach to tie the game, and Verheyen scored when senior Taylor Brown laid down a perfect squeeze bunt. It all led Waupun to a 5-4 victory, ending an outstanding season that saw Turner make state for just the third time in program history.
“It's hard,” said Turner coach Bob Sulser, a 2015 coaches association Hall of Fame inductee. “We had the defense played right, but they executed better than we did. We had a good comeback, but the bats didn't come alive until the sixth inning. That's the name of the game.”
Turner finished with a 27-3 record.
The Trojans mustered just one hit in the first five innings, falling behind 3-0. But when they batted around the order in the top of the sixth, it appeared they were headed for win No. 28.
Mikkelson led off the inning with a drive that missed leaving Goodman Diamond for a home run by mere feet. It brought Turner's bats to life.
Mikkelson scored on Kailyn Packard's single to right, and Trojans senior pitcher Kelsie Packard followed with a single to the same spot. Shelby Davies' blooper fell in over the first baseman, and suddenly the bases were loaded with one out.
“That (double) got us started,” Sulser said. “We've done that all year—somebody's always stepped up and gotten things started.”
Senior catcher Summer Amman tied the game, 3-3, with a chopper that bounced over the third baseman's head and brought both Packard sisters home. Two batters later, Trinity Fry was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring home Davies to take the lead.
But the rally was halted when a groundball led to an out at home plate, and Mikkelson—in her second at-bat of the inning—lined out to short.
“They pitched at our hands all night long,” Sulser said. “We tried to adjust, but we just couldn't.”
Turner kept its 4-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but Verheyen's one-out slap to the opposite field shifted momentum once more, and Brown's bunt ended it. She pushed the ball toward first base and it was bobbled, though a perfect play may not have even resulted in an out.
“We knew it (was coming), it was just a matter of who was going to execute better,” Sulser said. “The kids played their heart out. We talked about let's leave everything on the field, and I think they did.”
Waupun will face La Crosse Logan in the state championship at 12:30 p.m. today.
WAUPUN 5, TURNER 4
Turner (ab-r-h-rbi)—T. Mikkelson,s s, 4-1-2-0; O. Mikkelson, 2b, 4-0-0-0; Ka. Packard, 3b, 4-1-1-1; Ke. Packard, p, 4-1-1-0; S. Crall, cr, 0-0-0-0; Davies, 1b, 2-1-1-0; Amman, c, 3-0-1-2; K. Crall, rf, 2-0-0-0; Fry, cf, 2-0-0-1; Nitz, lf, 2-0-0-0; Peters, ph, 1-0-0-0. Totals: 28-4-6-4.
Waupun (ab-r-h-rbi)—Hopp, 3b, 4-0-2-1; Keach, dp, 3-2-1-0; Verheyen, 1b, 4-1-1-1; Brown, c, 2-0-1-2; Gerber, lf, 3-0-1-0; Peterson, ss, 2-1-0-0; Uttech, 2b, 2-1-1-0; Bensley, cf, 2-0-0-1; Van Ruiswyk, p, 3-0-0-0; White, rf, 0-0-0-0. Totals: 25-5-7-5.
Beloit Turner 000 004 0—4 6 3
Waupun 020 010 2—5 7 2
E—Turner 3, Waupun 2. LOB—Turner 6, Waupun 7. 2B—T. Mikkelson, Verheyen. SAC—Brown, Bensley. SF—Brown. SB—Hopp.
Turner IP H R ER BB SO
Ke. Packard 6 1/3 7 5 4 3 6
Van Ruiswyk 7 6 4 4 1 0