Bittersweet day for Craig softball
Cassady and her Craig High teammates had the school’s most successful softball season come to a halt in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game. Wilmot took control with a three-run third inning en route to a 5-0 victory.
Craig finished with a 20-5 record. It was the first 20-win season in Craig softball history.
Cassady, a UW-Green Bay recruit who likely will earn her third consecutive All-Big Eight Conference selection as a first-team catcher, was a major factor in the Cougars’ success.
She had one of the three hits the Cougars managed off of Panther sophomore starter Kristen Wood, but Craig could not generate enough offense to threaten Wilmot.
Craig’s Whitney Oliver and Kelly Moench walked with two outs in the third to produce the Cougars’ biggest threat. A grounder to Wood ended the inning.
Cassady, who along with fellow senior starters Lindsey Oliver, Whitney Oliver and Kelly Moench, had to hustle back to Janesville for Wednesday night’s ceremony at Monterey Stadium. It was somewhat of a bittersweet day for the seniors.
Craig sophomore starter Paige Weber matched Wood pitch-for-pitch until the third inning. Weber struck out the side in the second, but shaky defense in the third put the Cougars behind for good.
Wilmot leadoff hitter Karli Dorn hit a bullet in the hole that ricocheted off the outstretched glove of Craig shortstop Haley Bayreuther into foul territory. Dorn reached second on the hit.
Catcher Bailie Sheahan then dropped a bloop single into short right, putting Dorn on third. Then the windy and sunny conditions gave Wilmot the advantage it needed.
Kelli Hutchinson hit a high popup that was lost in the sun and fell into the infield dirt. Dorn scored, and Kelsey Saucerman followed with a two-run single.
The air went out of Cougars like a graduation balloon.
“We really weren’t 100 percent after that,” Cassady said.
Coach Dan Bayreuther realized the toll the inning took on his team, and despite his encouragement, couldn’t get the edge back.
“The strength of our team is fundamentals,” Bayreuther said. “We had one bad fundamental inning, and I don’t think we ever recovered.
“We just weren’t as quick as we normally are,” he said. “We were just on pins and needles.”
Wilmot coach Bob Movrich, whose 21-2 team plays Southern Lakes Conference rival Westosha Central in the sectional championship game today, understood the difficulty Whitney Oliver had trying to see at second base.
“Our kids practice here every day,” Movrich said. “I tell them to hustle on every popup. The sun is just brutal.”
Two more errors led to Wilmot’s fourth run in the fifth. Wilmot sophomore Sarah Vozel then concluded the scoring with her third homer of the season in the sixth.
Weber allowed seven hits and walked two, while striking out five.
“Paige did a good job,” Bayreuther said. “Even the balls that they hit hard, if we gotten the outs we needed to get before that, we still would have been in good shape.
“It’s sectional, and you can’t make mistakes,” he said.
Bayreuther appreciated all the accomplishments the team accumulated.
“In my 20 years, this was the most fun group to work with,” he said. “They work hard. I’m pretty sure these kids enjoyed it.”
Count Cassady in that group.
“The team was great,” Cassady said. “It was a great way to end my high school career.”
WILMOT 5, CRAIG 0
Craig (ab-r-h-rbi)—Bayreuther, ss, 3-0-1-0; Perleberg, rf, 3-0-1-0; Grall, 3-0-0-0; Cassady, c, 3-0-1-0; L. Oliver, 3b, 3-0-0-0; W. Oliver, 2b, 2-0-0-0; Moench, lf, 2-0-0-0; Mortensen, cf, 2-0-0-0; Kalish, dp, 2-0-0-0; Weber, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals: 23-0-3-0.
Wilmot (ab-r-h-rbi)—Sheahan, c, 4-1-2-0; Ke. Hutchinson, ss, 4-1-1-1; Saucerman, 1b, 2-0-1-2; Ka. Hutchinson, pr, 0-1-0-0; Wood, p, 2-0-0-0; Murdock, rf, 2-0-0-0; Rozell, 3b, 3-0-0-0; Woods, pr, 0-0-0-0; Webster, 2b, 3-0-1-0; Vozel, cf, 2-1-1-1; Dorn, lf, 3-1-1-0. Totals: 25-5-7-4.
Janesville Craig 000 000 0—0
Wilmot 003 011 x—5
E—Craig 3, Wilmot 0. HR—Vozel.
Janesville Craig IP H R ER BB SO
Weber (L) 6 7 5 3 2 5
Wood (W) 7 3 0 0 2 11