Softball Around the Horn

Prescott dominates Nekoosa in regionals

Wildcats, Wolves log disappointing losses

By Joe Peine
Posted 5/22/24

The Prescott Cardinals dominated the Nekooska Papermakers in round two of the regionals, beating them 14-0 at home on Monday, May 20.

The Cardinals played three non-conference games this week …

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Softball Around the Horn

Prescott dominates Nekoosa in regionals

Wildcats, Wolves log disappointing losses


The Prescott Cardinals dominated the Nekooska Papermakers in round two of the regionals, beating them 14-0 at home on Monday, May 20.

The Cardinals played three non-conference games this week ahead of regionals, beating the Bloomer Blackhawks 11-1 on Monday, May 13, losing to the Superior Spartans on Tuesday 4-0 and finally losing to the Fall Creek Crickets 1-0.

In what amounted to scrimmage games to keep the girls fresh, the one-seed Cardinals had a solid week of play.

Monday’s game at home versus Bloomer saw them putting up a run in each of the first three innings before exploding for eight more in the fourth as the Cardinals’ mercy ruled the Blackhawks after 4 ½ innings of play. Gabbi Matzek got the start, pitching a complete game and allowing just a single unearned run on three hits and one walk while striking out two.

The offense went nuts with everybody in the lineup reaching base at least once and either scoring a run or recording an RBI – or both. Matzek, Rory Zuedlsdorf and Talli Roth also all got extra base hits for the red birds.

Game two wasn’t great for the bats as they struggled on the road against the Spartans. After being the only person without a base hit in the first game (she scored twice after getting hit by two pitches), Kelsey Sterud was the only one to get a hit for the Cardinals as she went 2-3 with a stolen base from the leadoff spot.

Ella Stewart started on the mound for Prescott and she uncharacteristically struggled, issuing three walks, allowing four hits and striking out five.

Stewart rebounded in a big way in Thursday’s loss to the Crickets, pitching a complete game and allowing just six hits, one walk and an unearned run while piling up a full dozen strikeouts over six innings. To say it another way, 2/3 of the 18 outs in the Cardinals’ 1-0 loss were by strikeout, just reinforcing what a weapon they have in her heading into the postseason, which began with a massive blowout victory for the red birds.

Leah French went absolutely bonkers in this one. She was a triple shy of the cycle with three runs scored, three RBIs and two stolen bases before the fourth inning was even over. Zuehlsdorf operated as the table setter for French’s offensive output, going 2-2 with three runs, two RBIs, and a walk.

As for Stewart, she nonchalantly tossed a no hitter, striking out a cool dozen over five innings and coming just a single walk away from a perfect game.

Next up for Prescott, they will look to keep things rolling as they host the winner of Elk Mound and Arcadia on Thursday, May 23. First pitch for that game is at 5 p.m.

River Falls

The River Falls Wildcats lost to the Chippewa Falls Cardinals on the road in the first round of the Division 1 regionals on Monday by a score of 9-1.

River Falls lost a total of four games this week, including three straight to Chippewa Falls, in what was a disappointing end to the season for the Wildcats. The week started with a close 4-3 loss to the Eau Claire Memorial Old Abes on Monday and then they dropped three straight to the Cardinals, 14-2 on Tuesday, 12-1 on Thursday and finally in the regionals on Monday.

The Wildcats struggled to open the week, first losing a heartbreaker to ECM in a game that they were leading going into the bottom of the seventh.

Audra Adermann got the start in game one, and although she pitched well, the Abes got on the board early by putting up two runs in the bottom of the first inning on the back of two defensive Wildcat errors.

That was it for scoring for both sides until the Wildcats put up one in the fifth on an RBI double by Lily Burke, one in the sixth on a seeing eye single by Ava Larsen and then once again in the top of the seventh on a Jordan Torrez sac fly, giving River Falls a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the final frame of the day.

Adermann, who had pitched a fairly clean game until this point, got into trouble early allowing back-to-back singles and issuing a walk to load the bases. She rallied to strike out two of the next three batters, but unfortunately, she couldn’t get out of the inning as two Abes singled and walked it off against the Wildcats.

The offense struggled a bit, but they did enough to stay in the game. Larsen had a nice day at the plate, going 2-2 with a run scored and an RBI. Adermann’s final line was respectable, although she allowed a bit too much hard contact on the day going 6.2 innings, allowing 10 hits, two walks and two earned runs to go along with a pair of strikeouts.

The rest of the week was a trilogy of blowout losses that marked the end of the road for River Falls’ season. They will be losing three very talented seniors in the offseason in Jordan Schwantz, Torrez and Burke, but as the adage goes in River Falls: once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat. They will be missed, but with a new year comes a new group of underclassmen ready to step up and create a legacy for themselves and their program.

Elmwood-Plum City

The Elmwood-Plum City Wolves defeated Owen-Withee in round one of the regional playoffs on Thursday in Plum City by a score of 13-2.

The Wolves lost their final two games of the regular season earlier in the week, first on Monday (May 13) to the Boyceville Bulldogs 4-1 and then on Tuesday to Cochrane-Fountain City 19-2 before finally trouncing Owen-Withee on Thursday.

There’s no other way around it, this year was tough for the Wolves. That said, they’ve shown flashes of what’s possible for a program in transition.

Monday’s game against the Bulldogs was one of those times as it came down to just one big inning for Boyceville, fielding errors figuring into that number.

After scoring one in the second, the Bulldogs scored three in the third. However, besides that bigger crooked number, the Wolves played about even with them. They put up five hits on the day to Boyceville’s seven, although they scored only one run.

Abby Krings got the start, pitching a complete game, allowing seven hits, walking four and giving up three earned runs to go along with one punchout on the day.

Thursday’s playoff win was the opposite of these first two games. Britta Link, Cori Wood, Elli Maxwell and Lizzie Henn all recorded multiple runs, but it was Addasin Ingli’s performance that really carried the day. She went 3-4 at the plate with two extra base hits and a whopping six RBIs.

Link had a nice day on the bump as well, throwing a five-inning, one-run complete game. She gave up just two hits and walked two while striking out a half dozen in the process.

These are the kinds of performances where it’s easy to see a brighter future for the program than the season they’ve had this year. Of course, there’s a lot of work to be done, but with more time under the tutelage of first year head coach Paige Saniter, the Wolves should jump into contention in the Dunn-St. Croix over the next couple seasons.

The key, of course, is going to be repetition. More practice means cleaner defensive games. More innings logged by the starters will reduce the walks and thus overall runs.

Up next for the Wolves is a road game against one-seed Athens on Tuesday. First pitch is at 5 p.m.

Prescott Cardinals, regionals, Nekoosa Papermakers, River Falls Wildcats, EPC Wolves, softball