Monroe ends Edgerton's softball season
How big? Big enough to send the Cheesemakers back to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament.
Back-to-back four-run innings allowed Monroe to run away from top-ranked Edgerton, 9-2, to win the Evansville Sectional title. The Cheesemakers (17-10) play Baldwin-Woodville in a state semifinal game at 6 p.m. Thursday at Goodman Field in Madison.
This will be Monroe’s fifth trip to state, the last one coming in 2009 when the Cheesemakers also beat Edgerton in the sectional title game.
The Crimson Tide’s magical season came to a screeching halt thanks to an uncharacteristic five errors, and the Cheesemakers’ constant pressure applied on the base paths. Monroe took the lead for good with four runs in the top of the fourth, including the first three without the aid of a hit or the ball getting out of the infield.
Edgerton coach Tony DeWar, who had to say goodbye to a senior class that won four straight Rock Valley Conference titles, said Monroe’s ability to make things happen was the difference.
“We just didn’t handle their short game or team speed,” DeWar said. “Their speed just killed us, and we didn’t make some plays that we normally make.
“In a big game like this, you have to execute, and we didn’t do that very well. And a lot of it was things we worked on every day in practice. Hitting the cut-off man, running a base runner back to a bag, things we’ve always worked on.”
Monroe scored in the first when Ellie Grossen tripled and easily beat the throw home from first baseman Emily Ziemet on Kelsey Erickson’s dropped third strike. Edgerton (22-3) tied the game in the bottom of the inning on Meggie Schmidt’s RBI single.
Schmidt’s hit was one of only three for the Crimson Tide off Becca Armstrong. The sophomore righthander struck out six in the complete-game victory and retired 12 of 14 batters during one stretch.
“We had a great scouting report on Edgerton coming in and knew we just had to play our game,” Armstrong said. “Our schedule is tough and it gets us ready for the tournament and games like this.’’
Edgerton, meanwhile, went through a season in which it beat three teams—champion Fort Atkinson, runner-up Milton and third-place Madison Edgewood—that finished ahead of or tied with Monroe in the Badger South standings.
But after Edgerton failed to score with the bases loaded in the second inning of 1-1 game against Monroe, things got tough for the Crimson Tide.
“I felt like I got stronger as the game went on, and the team played really well the whole game,” Armstrong said.
Monroe broke the game open with four runs in the fourth. The speedy Erickson reached on an error to start the rally and promptly stole second. She went to third on a groundout before scoring on a headfirst slide on a fielder’s choice groundout. Kaylee Craigo made it 3-1 with a fielder’s choice groundout, and Sarah Kloepping and Heather Barta added RBI singles to push the lead to 5-1.
Edgerton went quietly in the fifth before Monroe put the game away with four more runs in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Rebecca Flannery’s two-run single stretched the lead to 9-1.
Coming up short of state for the second time in four years was more frustrating for the Crimson Tide because of the way it played and not whom it played.
“Monroe’s always been successful with running and putting pressure on you, but we just didn’t execute like we’re capable of,” DeWar said.
“I feel most sad for our seniors who had a great run in the Rock Valley. They lost six games in four years, and I don’t think anyone thought it was going to end like this.”
MONROE 9, EDGERTON 2
Monroe 100 440 0—9 7 2
Edgerton 100 000 1—2 3 5
Armstrong and Craigo; Cleveland, Schmeling (5) and Richardson.
Leading hitters—Grossen (M) 2x4, Barta (M) 2x2. 3B—Grossen (M).
SO—Armstrong (M) 6, Cleveland (E) 2. BB—Armstrong 4, Cleveland 1, Schmeling 1.