With a five-run 7th-inning rally, the Edgerton Crimson Tide advanced to the second round of regional play in the WIAA State Softball Tournament by beating Jefferson 9-5 on Tuesday night.
Recent rain moved the game from Jefferson High School to Race Track Park in Edgerton, with Jefferson retaining rights as the home team in the playoff-opening contest.
It was Jefferson that struck first, when Claire Peachey launched a two-run home run over left center in the bottom of the first inning to give the Eagles a quick 2-0 lead.
A leadoff single by Edgerton's Molly Reilly turned into a run three batters later, when Grace Schuman grounded out to the pitcher to score the Tider's first run of the game to cut the deficit in half.
After pitcher Madee Kleinschmidt struck out two of the three batters in the bottom of the second, and assisted on the putout for the third out of the inning, she singled and scored as part of a two-run top of the third inning for Edgerton, representing the go-ahead run to give Edgerton a 3-2 lead heading to the bottom of the third inning.
Jefferson couldn't do anything with a two-out single by Brittney Mengel in the bottom of the third. Edgerton would get one more across in the top of the fourth inning, loading the bases with two outs. After a single by Lauren Radtke, Gabrielle Martinez reached on error, and the next two batters, Oren and Kleinschmidt, both walked to allow Radtke to add another run to the Tiders' total. Jefferson's Halle Peterson worked out of the jam without any further damage, and the lead stayed at 4-2 heading to the bottom of the fourth inning.
Each pitcher settled in for the next two innings of work. Edgerton's Kleinschmidt scattered four singles and the first-inning home run across five innings, while Jefferson's Peterson settled down to retire seven consecutive batters through the top half of the sixth inning.
With the score 4-2 Edgerton, Jefferson's best chance to rally would come in the bottom of the sixth, with the heart of their order coming up. Kylee Lukes tripled to lead off the inning, and would cross home plate two batters later on an Audrey Pelikan single. Pelikan and Peachey would both add runs in the inning, with Pelikan's go-ahead run coming on a single by Rachael Neitzel on a left-handed drag bunt. A pair of flyouts ended the bottom of the sixth, but the damage had been done, with Jefferson rallying for a 5-4 lead heading to the final stanza.
Edgerton's batting order began with their leadoff hitter, Bethany Oren, who lined out to the pitcher, Peterson, to begin the top of the seventh inning. With one out, Kleinschmidt doubled to deep right center. Kelsey Lien singled and then advanced to second on a passed ball, which also scored Kleinschmidt to tie the game. Molly Reilly had her second big hit of the game, a triple to send Lien home to score the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh. Sidney Zimmermann and Jillian Schue followed up with RBI singles, and Schuman added her second RBI of the game with another base knock to send home courtesy-runner Cassidy Danks to make the score 9-5 Edgerton.
Jefferson ended the inning with a double play, but the damage had been done: a five-run seventh-inning rally by Edgerton. The Eagles didn't have a ball leave the infield in the bottom of the seventh inning, falling in order to close out the game, and the season, for Jefferson. Edgerton's Madee Kleinschmidt pitched a complete game in the victory for the Tiders.
-All nine Edgerton batters reached base in the game, and eight of the nine had hits. Oddly enough, leadoff hitter and team leader in batting average, Bethany Oren, didn't record a hit, but walked and reached on a fielder's choice.
-Edgerton had six hits in their five-run seventh-inning rally, all consecutive.
-Jefferson only got one leadoff hitter aboard: during their sixth-inning three-run rally to take the lead, Molly Reilly hit a leadoff triple.
-Reaction from Edgerton coach Tony DeWar is at the end of this article.
Final: Edgerton 9, Jefferson 5
WP: Edgerton/Madee Kleinschmidt (CG, 7IP, 5R, 9H, 5K)
LP: Jefferson/Halle Peterson (6 1/3 IP, 6R, 8H, 3K, 2BB)
Edgerton: P Madee Kleinschmidt 2-3, 2B, 2 R, BB; SS Kelsey Lien 2-4, 2 R, RBI, SB; 3B Molly Reilly 2-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI; DP Jillian Schue 2-4, RBI.
Jefferson: DP Brittney Mengel 2-4, R; 3B Claire Peachey 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB; LF Audrey Pelikan 2-3, RBI, R.
Time Of Game: 1:35
First Pitch: 4:43 p.m.
Weather: 67 degrees, mostly cloudy
Location: Race Track Park, Edgerton, Wis.